Botanical Name: Cryptomeria japonica
Common Name: Japanese Cedar
Locations: CSW, KN
Notable Feature: In spite of its common name it is not related to true cedars, but instead is a member of the Cypress Family. Attractive, reddish brown bark, vertically peels in strips.
Habit: Evergreen, upright tree with a narrow crown and typically one straight trunk. Branches are arranged in horizontal tiers, ascending at first, then pendulous near their tips. In the mountains of Japan it is found growing 200 feet tall; under cultivation it will reach 60 feet in height. Some specimens are thought to be 1000 years old.
Flower: Species is monoecious with separate male and female flowers borne on the same tree; females round, light green with loose scales; males light brown, appearing from leaf axils near branch tips; bloom in early spring.
Fruit: Reddish brown, round, fruiting cones, 1” across, occur at the branch tips. Sharp-pointed scales give it a spiny appearance.
Foliage: Awl-shaped, spirally arranged, ½ to ¾” long, curving inward toward the twig; green and may turn a bronze in winter.
Interesting Fact: The national tree of Japan, typically planted by temples and shrines. One of the great timber trees of the world and once used in Japan as timber more than any other tree. The best stands grow on the lower slopes of mountains where annual rainfall is high.
Cultivars: ‘Radicans’ is a tall, slender, and dense Japanese cedar that is fast growing, reaching 30 to 40 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. When compared to the straight species, it is not only shorter and more compact in habit, but its feathery foliage is a bluer green; this color is retained through winter with no to slight bronzing. It is also less prone to tip blight and leaf spot, however more susceptible to root rot when young.