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Cercidiphyllum japonicum - The Katsura Tree

Commonly called the Katsura tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum is fast growing upright tree deciduous tree originally from mountain areas of China and Japan. Also available for sale in a number of cultivars including a weeping form and a compact cultivar.

Used widely as an ornamental tree the Katsura tree has fragrant bark and foliage and attractive heart shaped leaves emerging a red to green and then turning yellow to purple and red in fall. This is a medium growing tree that will reach 30ft depending on conditions.

One of the interesting features is the fragrance of the leaves in fall, they exude a soft sweet perfume and little like the smell or caramel being made. Many gardeners like to leave these on the ground a little longer before cleaning up, just for the sweet perfume.

The species commences live as a fairly upright tree, over time forming a more rounded crown. The weeping form is most attractive and well worth considering in smaller gardens. All forms will produce small red flowers in spring followed by green seed pods with flattish brown seeds.

Varieties

  • Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum' is the Weeping Katsura Tree, attractive weeping habit.

  • Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Heronswood Globe' is a smaller growing (dwarf) cultivar reaching 15ft, an excellent choice for smaller gardens.

  • Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Rot Fuchs' Katsura is a slightly more compact form with thicker leaves.

  • Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Red Fox' is also worth looking for