Introduced into cultivation in the west in 1865, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, is an elegantly shaped tree native to Japan and China, more commonly known as the Katsura tree.
The heart-shaped leaves of the Katsura are attractive in all stages of growth, emerging with a red-purple tinge in spring, a strong blue-green shade in summer, and finally turning to a lovely golden apricot color in autumn. The fall foliage is also notable for its characteristic fragrance emitted by the falling leaves, a sweet smell often likened to burnt sugar or cotton candy.
Pictured above is number 25 on Mount Auburn’s “Unusual Trees Map” – a striking multi-trunked, but otherwise standard form of Katsura that can be found growing on the southwest side of Lime Avenue.
A more unusual pendant form and larger single-trunked specimen of the Katsura tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Morioka’s Weeping’ is number 26 on the “Unusual Trees Map” and can be found on the southwest edge of Azalea Path near Willow Pond.
*This Horticulture Highlight was originally published in the Novemeber 2007 issue of the Friends of Mount Auburn electronic newsletter.