This lovely small tree native to the Far East can be grown only in very protected areas if you live in Zone 5. Beautiful five- to nine-lobed leaves emerge early. The plant grows 15′ to 25′ in height with a spread exceeding its height, and it is highly admired for its wonderful horizontal branches. May and June bring small reddish-purple flowers. The samaras, or winged fruits, mature in fall and turn a rich red. Fall color is outstanding–ranging from yellow to red to purple. Use the Japanese maple as a specimen plant.