The famous lions head maple, Shishigashira actually refers to two different old cultivars, 'Meijishi' and 'O jishi'. 'Meijishi' is the female lion and 'O jishi' is the male lion. These names come from the mythical male and female lions of Japaneses drama that dates back over 900 years. The name Shishigashira means lions head and comes from the costume worn while doing the lion dance to exorcise evil spirits. While this term can be used to describe either cultivar it is generally used to describe 'Meijishi' and the plant generally labeled 'Shishigashira' in nurseries is almost always 'Meijishi'. While both plants have crinkled tightly congested foliage arranged along stiff upright branches, 'Meijishi's foliage is a little more tightly congested and darker green than that of 'O jishi'. 'Meijishi' is also faster growing. 'O jishi' has bright red fall color while 'Meijishi' has fall color that is more orange. Either plant is excellent for containers and make wonderful patio trees.
'Meijishi' 10 Year size: Height: 5-6 Feet Width: 3-4 Feet
'O jishi' 10 Year size: Height: 4-5 Feet Width: 3-4 Feet