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Cercidiphyllum japonicum pendulum (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Cercidiphyllum japonicum pendulum (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Zones 2B, 3-6, 14-16, 18-20, 32-41
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Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Katsura Tree
Deciduous, Trees

Native to China and Japan. A specimen tree of many virtues if given regular moisture (especially during youth) and sheltered from intense sun and drying wind. Light, dainty branch and leaf pattern. Foliage changes color during growing season: emerges reddish purple, becomes bluish green in summer, then turns yellow to apricot in autumn. To enhance fall color, water less frequently in late summer. Trees grown in acid soil will have best color. Foliage of some katsura trees smells like brown sugar on warm autumn days when leaves are falling.

Rather slow growing, eventually reaching 40 ft. or taller. Pyramidal form when young; tree may remain fairly pyramidal or become more rounded (and as wide as tall) with maturity. Some specimens have single trunk, but multiple trunks are more usual. Brown bark, somewhat shaggy on old trees. Nearly round, 2–4-in. leaves neatly spaced in pairs along arching branches. No serious pest or disease problems. Mature trees need little pruning.

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