One of the harbingers of fall, these limbs bearing the distinct palmate leaves in various shades of red are indispensable for autumnal compositions. Maple played a critical part in the colonization of the North American continent. Indians showed colonialists how to tap the Maple trees for the sap, and produce the sugar products that were derived from it. There are several varieties that are sold as well as the Japanese cultivars that have diminutive leaves. Recommended to hold in water, preferably in tall containers with support as these branches are as tall as six feet. Holding dry is risky as the leaves need water in the vascular system to prevent drying out and falling.Leaves vary greatly in color from brown, orange, red to green. As with all boughs some loss of foliage is inevitable. Stems should be cut cleanly and crisply (please do not smash the stems) and placed immediately into water. The branches should be hydrated in a low sugar holding solution and preferably should be processed in the cooler.