Maples are best known for their magnificent foliage colours which light up the autumn garden with vivid greens, yellows, ochres, rusts, oranges and reds. This enormously diverse genus ranges from the popular Japanese maples which are ideal for small gardens to enormous parkland trees and holds a number of extremely rewarding species for gardens of all sizes. The emphasis in this book is on the garden-worthy aspects of each plant although each one of the 125 species is described for the benefit of specialists and enthusiasts. The most recognizable characteristic of maples is the leaf which is lobbed like the palm of a hand but they are also highly regarded for their bark - the snake bark maple has marbling of cream or white on a green or russet background which is reminiscent of the markings on the skin of a python. Maples are on the whole easily grown and very hardy but some require shelter from the wind.