Cercidiphyllum is Latin for “leaves like Cercis (redbud);” japonicum means “of Japan.”
Katsuratree may be named for a district in Kyoto, Japan.
NATIVE RANGE AND HABITAT
Katsuratree is native to Japan and China, west to Sichuan and Gansu. Trees grow in moist forests in mountains or lowlands. Trees are often found in the understory, protected from hot afternoon sun. In the past, katsuratree was found in North America and Europe. Fossil remains of Cercidiphyllum indicate that present members of the Cercidiphyllaceae are the remnants of a formerly large, diverse family.
Not native to Kentucky.
Habit and Form
‘Pendula’ Katsuratree forms a mound of gracefully weeping branches. This cultivar will grow 15 to 25 feet in height. It is a fast growing form. The cultivar was discovered in a seedling population by Mr. Theodore Klein, Crestwood, Kentucky and was named ‘Amazing Grace’ by Bob Hill of The Louisville Courier Journal. The species form is pyramidal in youth becoming full and dense with age. Some mature trees maintain a pyramidal from, others are wide-spreading. Katsuratree grows 40 to 60 feet in height with an equal or greater spread.
The leaves are opposite, simple and 2 to 4 inches long and wide. New leaves emerge a reddish purple and gradually change bluish-green in summer. The deciduous leaves turn yellow or orange in autumn before dropping. Fall leaves have a subtle, sweet-spicy scent.
The flowers are dioecious; male and female flowers are on separate plants. The tiny, greenish flowers bloom March and April; pollination is by wind.
The fruits are ½ to ¾ inch long dehiscent pods that ripen in October. The small, greenish fruits are in pairs of 2 to 4 on short stalks. The fruits contain tiny, flat, winged seeds that are scattered by wind.
The bark is brown, coarse and somewhat shaggy on mature trees.
Wild and Cultivated Varieties
‘Aureum’ – new foliage is purplish, then light green, finally bright yellow.
‘Heronswood Globe’ – a dwarf, globe-shaped from.
‘Pendula’ Katsuratree is an excellent specimen tree. The gracefully weeping branches resemble cascading blue-green water.
Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8.
‘Pendula’ Katsuratree is a fast growing form.
Cultivation and Propagation Information
Plant balled-and-burlapped or container-grown plant in early spring. ‘Pendula’ Katsuratree requires moist, fertile, well-drained soils. Katsuratree is pH adaptable although seems to fall color better on acid (lower pH) soils. Trees can tolerate full sun, but prefer sheltered, partially shaded sites. Katsuratree was introduced into cultivation in 1865. ‘Pendula’ Katsuratree must be grafted onto seedling understock. Seed requires no pretreatment and can be sown in October when mature.
Diseases and Insects
‘Pendula’ Katsuratree is of little importance to wildlife, except as shelter.
TRADITIONAL AND MODERN USES
Ainu, native people from Japan, made canoes and mortars from the wood of the species form.
The wood is used for indoor paneling and furniture in Japan.