Northern Spotlight® Korean Maple - Acer pseudosieboldianum 'KorDak' (RFM-72)


northern spotlightA very winteNorthern Spotlight fallrhardy Korean maple selection. It has tolerated in excess of -40°F winter temperatures multiple times in a 125 to 140 day growing season in the Northern Plains. Its palmate simple leaves are typically 7 to 9 lobed. The popularly planted palmate-lobed maple species, namely, A. palmatum – Japanese Maple and A. japonicum – Fullmoon Maple, are Zone 5 to 8 species, and thus, not winterhardy in the Northern Plains. Northern Spotlight® has great potential to fill this void in Zones 3 and 4, suffering no winter stem or tip damage over a 20-year evaluation period. Many seedling propagated Korean Maple seed sources are highly variable in cold hardiness or have hybridized with the lesser hardy palmate-lobed species resulting in winter damage or plant failure in northern areas. Planted as a small seedling in 1991, the original plant of Northern Spotlight® is now 13' tall and 10' wide growing in a multi-stemmed fashion. Plant form is open with layered branching. New foliage emerges later than other hardy maple species and is initially covered with a fine silky pubescence creating an interesting early visual effect. Summer foliage is medium green and has been resistant to summer leaf scorch and tip burn generally caused by winds, high temperatures, and low humidity. Outstanding orange to orange-red fall colors develop unless interrupted by severe premature fall frost. Foliage is retained throughout the winter months, dropping as budbreak occurs in spring. In northern climates, leaf retention, as well as proper site selection, aid in protecting plant stems from winter sunscald. However, sunscald has not occurred on Northern Spotlight® to date. The landscape assets of this small tree make it an exciting plant for northern plantings, including residential landscapes. It can be rooted by cuttings taken from late June to late July. USDA hardiness zone 3. Wholesale nursery propagation is encouraged to commercialize this superior, hardy cultivar. Availability pending. A collaborative introduction by NDSU and Greg Morgenson, former manager, Lincoln-Oakes Nurseries, Bismarck, ND.

Potential Uses or Applications

Nursery stock, specimen, residential landscape, parks and public grounds

Development Stage

Plant propagation material can be obtained from NDSU Plant Sciences Department or trees from licensed nursery subject to availability.

Patent Status

U.S. Trademark - Northern Spotlight®


This cultivar is available for non-exclusive licensing.

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