The Japanese Maple is native to Japan, where it is very popular, and to Korea. Horticulturists brought it to this country about 1820. Over the years, nurseries in both Japan and the United States have stocked dozens of varieties of this admired tree. The bark of this tree is gray and smooth. Sometimes it grows as a shrub. The Japanese Maple grows well in moist but well-drained, rich soils with plenty of organic material. It is somewhat more tolerant of heat than is the Fullmoon Maple. People commonly plant the Japanese Maple in gardens and in other places where they want an eye-catching tree.