The Japanese red maple can be used as a single specimen tree or in a grouping. It's striking in a rock garden and is favored by bonsai growers. The leaves are dissected with pointy tips and provide a lacy green image with a spectacular reddish-purple showing in late fall and again with new leaf growth in spring.
This deciduous tree is native to Japan, China and Korea and can get harmed with too much frost and wind. In hotter geographies, it likes some shade protection, and can grow quite nicely under the dappled canopy of larger trees. Japanese maples are useful next to sidewalks and in borders because the roots are compact and not invasive. That means the walkway won't be cracked and lifted up in a few years from massive roots. Even in winter, the tree delights; in some cultivars the bark brightens and turns colors after the leaves have fallen for the season.
If you're looking for a tree that screams "Americana," the next page may hold the answer.