Discussion in 'Maples' started by mr.shep, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    To a taxonomist Japanese Maples is going to be a veritable nightmare
    to try to sort out and classify each and every old Maple (pre 1990).
    I know Mr. Don Kleim once had three Japanese Maple books written
    in Kanji that were written long before the first edition of the Vertrees
    Japanese Maple book was published. Don knew that without a
    translation from Kanji into the English that most of the information
    in the three books would be useless to him so he had several gentlemen,
    in Japan and in the US try to translate the books for him. Definite
    problems arose in the gathering of interpretations, so much so
    in certain cases, there was a sense of absurdity among all concerned
    from one translation from another. There was an aura of bickering
    that did come about between several of the parties involved. Then
    again a lot of good did come to fruition in that the parties were talking
    about Maples and intellectual discussions came about. It was then that
    a common foundational ground was starting to form and a lot of what
    we may think we know or have read may have come about from those
    discussions between all of those gentlemen.

    After being involved with the antique world for 12 years where I
    let myself get real uptight is that most all of the participants want
    and in some cases feel the expressed need to feel as though they
    are experts. There are a lot of antique people that are only in the
    antique game for the money and it is important to them to have
    others think of them as though they are experts. Then someone
    like me comes along as points out areas where they are not nearly
    as expert as they think they are and I am rendered the bad guy.
    I tell them up front that they are kidding themselves thinking
    they are experts in the first place as there are people about
    that can "run circles around them" for knowledge. That they
    do not want to hear or read in an online forum but it is true
    but they are too full of themselves to understand or too ignorant
    to want to believe it. Sitting on the outside looking in I never
    felt or at least in a more perfect world that the game was never
    meant to be a popularity contest or a means of establishing
    a test to see which person knew more than the other. I have
    always felt that there were people that remained silent that
    probably knew more than the rest of us and it may be quite true
    even today in Maples.

    One of the demons I have is that in my mind there are no experts
    in Maples but there are a lot of very knowledgeable people that
    are around that can help us when we have a question about a Maple
    that we may need some help on. There are people that will answer
    almost all questions about Maples as it is a strong passion for them.
    Unlike the antiques world in which money is the driving force, in
    Maples it is the love of the plant itself and how we feel about having
    such a wonderful plant in our lives. It makes no difference what I
    think I may know as there are others that may know much more than
    I do. I've always been "vocal" in online forums, not because I felt I had
    something to write that others did not know but I was usually a person
    that had enough confidence to write something and not be afraid at all
    to be wrong, even if it meant that everyone told me I was wrong and that
    has happened online. Many times I am hoping I am wrong just so I can
    "see" things in a different perspective that I am overlooking. To be
    rendered wrong is not all that bad a deal as it leads to us learning
    something that we did not know or realize beforehand.

    I have another demon to deal with and that is what I have learned
    first hand is not quite backed up in the Maple books that we have.

    On one side is it due to the fact that I've seen some of the Maples
    and the authors have not and in their desire to be thorough that
    they included information about Palmatums and Tridents that
    to me is not right or is it a matter that the authors went with
    information from others hoping that their knowledge of those
    Maples was right. I will admit that it seems almost a virtual
    impossibility to be able to get things right on Maples and that
    any and all information that one wants to give should be considered
    pertinent information but that information may not be altogether
    correct. In some cases the information is not going to be correct
    so the Maple book authors have their own demons to deal with.

    One thing that impressed me years ago was that one Maple could
    indeed have more than one form of it. There may be a Japanese
    form and there may be an American or a European form to the
    same Maple. I've seen Aka shigitatsu sawa in two distinct forms
    and that although the leaves are similar the coloring during stages
    of the year are not similar. I know Kasagiyama come in two colors
    also, one is a pink base color and the other is a purple red base color.
    Shigitatsu sawa also comes in two color forms, so it could be
    possible, at least to me right now it is, that most all of the reticulated
    forms come in more than one form?

    I wrote in a previous note that Sango kaku in the nursery trade
    is not Sango kaku. I was wrong about that statement as they
    are Sango kaku but they are not the Japanese form that I and
    other have had or the form some of us have seen in Japan.
    Are they the same plant? Yes and no but should they be
    classified as being two different plants when the growth
    habits are the same, the leaves are basically the same size
    and shape but the difference between them is the bark color
    and that one leaf in the right conditions is a variegate and
    the other may not be (just because we do not see a variegation
    does not mean it is not a variegate as when we do see a variegation
    we are in for some bad news within a few years if what has held
    true for some of us is something that holds true for most everyone).

    I've seen Ornatum variegated and did not feel that Maple was Ornatum
    at all by the size and shape of its leaves. Could it have been that way to
    me only? I've seen Beni shidare tricolor and Beni shidare variegated and
    felt they were two distinctly different plants. I've seen Goshiki kaede
    and Toyo nishiki grown next to each other for 10 years and know they
    are dramatically different. One is a variegate and the other is not a
    variegate at all. Check them out for yourself and you decide.

    I've seen Koto Matsubara's variegate form of Ibo nishiki and no where
    is that one mentioned anywhere in literature and that is because perhaps
    only a handful of us have seen it. Otto's Dissectum that Elmore showed
    an image of is not widespread in the nursery world and it has been around
    since 1982 that I know of. Red Head came into Don Kleim's about the
    same time but Don would not take grafts off that Maple because he felt it
    was not different enough in comparison to other nursery trade Atropurpureum
    dissectums to justify him promoting that Maple. He felt no one would
    want it when they could have a better colored Crimson Queen, Garnet
    or Ever Red instead. To a collector Red Head is different enough to want
    to have it so what do you do with it? Graft for a couple of people or not
    graft it at all and that was the dilemma that Don faced for several years.

    I do know one thing that what has been lacking in the Maple world ever
    since my first involvement is that there is little interest in having intellectual
    discussions about Maples. I do not believe that has changed for the better
    even with my withdrawal from the Maple world for several years. It is not
    that I did not like my Maples and did not want to talk about Maples it is that
    I felt I had no one I could really talk Maples to and I let that become a demon
    for me as well.

    Here is a forum in which how we participate in dialogue not only can
    help the people that either have a new interest in Maples or have an old
    existing interest in Maples. It is up to all of us to participate and remember
    none of us are experts in Maples no matter what we think we know or
    have learned. Learning does not really ever subside for any of us.


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