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Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Phonetic Spelling
ser-sid-ih-FIL-um juh-PON-ih-kum
Description

Cercidiphyllum is a genus containing two species of plants, both commonly called Katsura. They are the only members of the family Cercidiphyllaceae. The genus is native to Japan and China and it is one of the largest hardwoods in Asia. Katsura is the Japanese name for the tree. It is a medium-size deciduous tree that has a full, dense, pyramidal habit when young and great variability with age including low stiff arching branches.  The bark is shaggy on old trunks, with loose ends. Members of the Cercidiphyllum genus produce spurs along its twigs. These are short stems with closely spaced leaves.  The tree flowers in March or April and produces winged seeds. Several different cultivars are grown, including 'Aureum', 'Heronswood Globe', 'Pendula', and 'Ruby'.

Plant this tree in the full sun in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil and it requires ample water for establishment.  New leaves are reddish purple, mature to green and then the leaves turn apricot yellow in the fall before falling off.  The decaying fall leaves smell like caramel/burnt sugar or cotton candy.  The scientific name Cercidiphyllum refers to the close resemblance of the leaves to those of Cercis (redbuds) but these two unrelated genera can be distinguished easily as redbud leaves are alternate, not opposite.  It is great for large spaces like parks, golf courses, commercial sites or as a street tree;

Quick ID Hints:

  • Tree, fall foliage fragrant, apricot-yellow
  • Leaves opposite, heart-shaped

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insects or disease problems.  Drought and wind can stress this tree.  It has poor leaf color in alkaline soils.  It can be difficult to transplant.    -

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aureum', 'Heronswood Globe', 'Pendulum', 'Ruby'
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#bark#fragrant leaves#street tree#playground#children's garden#pollinator plant#wind pollinated#fantz#deciduous tree#fall color yellow#fall color orange
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aureum', 'Heronswood Globe', 'Pendulum', 'Ruby'
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#bark#fragrant leaves#street tree#playground#children's garden#pollinator plant#wind pollinated#fantz#deciduous tree#fall color yellow#fall color orange
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cercidiphyllum
    Species:
    japonicum
    Family:
    Cercidiphyllaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is light, soft and fine-grained so has been used in Japan to making furniture, cabinetry, and paneling.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Wildlife Value:
    Insect pollinators
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Shade
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Multi-trunked
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The seed is inside a pod type fruit. The fruit that follows is a cluster of 2-4 small pods with numerous small, flattened and winged seeds. The fruits mature in autumn and release their seeds in autumn through winter by splitting open. There are 2-4 on pedicel, the seeds paper thin and winged.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant flowers are produced on dioecious (having separate male and female) trees. Female flowers are small and green male flowers are red. They appear in early spring for only a week and are wind-pollinated. Dioecious; male flowers with calyx & numerous stamens; female flower with 4 winged sepals, 4-6 carpels.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Obtuse
    Ovate
    Reniform
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Short shoots bear simple opposite to subopposite, 2"-4" leaves. They are broadly cordate (heart-shaped) or reniform, palmately webbed veined leaves with crenate, entire, or finely serrate margins. New leaves emerge reddish-bronze-purple; turn blue-green in summer; yellow to apricot fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Shaggy
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Older bark can be shaggy and scaly, younger bark has horizontal etches
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Thin, brown very branched stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Pollinators