Unusual plants fascinate, but sometimes do not inspire. Koto No Ito Japanese maple, Acer palmatum Koto No Ito, has long strap-like leaves, unlike any other leaves I have seen. It is the character of the leaves that make Koto No Ito uniquely beautiful in the garden. It is a truly beautiful Japanese maple. It may be hard to find, but I would think the effort rewarded.
Koto No Ito means ‘harp strings’ in the Japanese language.
For gardeners who like unusual Japanese maples, it is worth noting the peach colored stems of Bihou, as well as the only upright-growing dissected Japanese maple, Seiryu.
It is a deliberate grower, eventually reaching eight feet or so at maturity in the garden. The leaves become progressively longer and more ‘wispy’ as the tree ages. When it is younger, do not be concerned if the leaves are not as developed as what you see in these pictures.
When considered at a distance with a backdrop of canopy trees, Koto No Ito is ethereal in the garden.
Koto No Ito is hardy zones 6-9. Of course, Japanese maples make superb container-grown trees, so this is an option for gardeners in colder zones.
Of more concern with Koto No Ito Japanese Maple is the wind.
Considering the nature of the very long and thin leaves, planting in an area of the garden protected from strong winds is a good idea. Gentle breezes on leaves are beautiful, as the entire tree seems to gently move. Most Japanese maples are tough and easy to grow, but keep the heavy winds at bay by mindful planting in the garden.
Japanese maples are at their best in filtered light. Early morning sun into early afternoon would be ideal.