Acer palmatum, 'Sango kaku' 3 weeks ago. Leaves have a slight greenish tint.
'Sango kaku' one week ago - peak color.
Sango kaku today, Saturday November 08, 2008 - past peak but still nice. .
Another of the coral bark Japanese maples - 'Beni kawa', literally, red skin or bark.
The Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, 'Sango kaku' was nicely turning color just before I left on a trip to Seattle 2 weeks ago. I am amazed that almost all the leaves on the tree will turn at the same time with the exception of new branches that put on a growth spurt in late summer. When I got back from the trip, the tree was almost past peak and a week later definitely past it's prime but still quite nice to look at. We've had a mild fall so far and that accounts for the still good color.
This was a tree I almost gave up on. I planted it in a north western exposure where the winter winds blasted it unmercifully. After three years of no growth, I finally moved it to a sheltered place in the backyard and the tree immediately put on a growth spurt. When I bought the tree it was about 4 feet tall. It is now about 10 feet tall, more than double it's original size in 3 years.
If you plant but one Japanese maple, this cultivar would be my recommendation. Even after the leaves drop the red branches provide some color in an otherwise drab winter scene.