Lion's Head Maple Tree
Lion's Head Maple Leaf
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Lion's Head Maple Tree
Lion's Head Maple Leaf
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Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 6-8
  • Spacing: 8-10'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Lion's Head Maple

Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'

This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.

The Lion’s Head Japanese Maple is a regal specimen tree for your entryway garden, patio, courtyard, or any of the spaces around your home in need of a distinctive focal point. With its proud, upright posture and thickly set, tufted foliage, Lion’s Head (a.k.a. ‘Shishigashira’) gives an impression of big-cat confidence and strength in the landscape. When the ruffled leaves turn golden-orange in the fall, the transformation into proud “lion” will be complete. Plant this slow-growing legacy tree where it will reign for many years as King of the Garden!

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 6-8
  • Spacing: 8-10'
  • Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

The Shishigashira Maple arose in Japan in 1882, but its legend goes back much further. “Shishi” is a mythical lion creature believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits. A pair of Shishi statues often guards shrines in Japan. Many Japanese people are also familiar with “Shishi-mai,” the “Lion Dance” from a play dating back to the 8th Century. The actor wears a Shishigashira, or Lion’s Head mask while performing the ancient dance. Because of this tradition, even today when a baby boy is born in Japan, a little Shishigashira mask is sometimes placed near him to protect him from evil. Might we suggest planting a Shishigashira Maple for your youngster instead?

The Details

This tree’s compact growth habit and closely set foliage make it a favorite subject for bonsai enthusiasts, who form it into ancient-looking, umbrella-shaped trees. In the landscape, Lion’s Head Japanese Maple forms more of an ice cream cone shape, with a low-branched, vase-shaped trunk and a rounded top. It reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet after several decades and spreads to no more than 10 feet.

How to Grow

Shishigashira’s thick, deep green leaves are more sun tolerant than those of most Japanese Maples, so a site in full sun is suitable as long as ample water is provided. However, some protection from intense sunlight, heat, and wind will serve this choice specimen well. It isn’t fussy about soils as long as drainage is adequate. Lion’s Head Maple makes a wonderful container tree for a large patio planter, but keep in mind that trees kept in pots are always less hardy than those planted in the ground. This tree leafs out later than most Japanese Maples and is more likely to avoid a late frost that may zap others back.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 6
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 8
Exposure Sun/Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 15'
Avg Mature Width 10'
Spacing 8-10'
Growth Rate Very Slow
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Orange/Gold
Flower Color Red
Flower Time Spring
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark Yes
Attracts Birds No
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds No
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant No
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native No
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance Yes
Showy Flowers No
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions No
Utility Line Trees Yes
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden Yes
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


Size: B

Size B

Size: C

Size C

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size B Trees:

4-5' tall, strong stem caliper, strong branching and great form. Grown in our #10 or #15 tree container in this size. This tree will have an immediate impact on your landscape.

Size C Trees:

Generally 6' tall and up at time of shipping, many times much taller and nearly as wide to about 6', with very strong stem caliper. The tree in this size is grown in our extra large #20 or #25 tree containers and will require two very strong people to manage.

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Lion's Head Maple Tree
Lion's Head Maple Leaf