Katsura Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum
Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum, commonly known as weeping katsura, has a distinctive appearance characterized by its graceful, pendulous branches. Its cascading form exhibits leaves that dangle elegantly from the drooping limbs, creating a sweeping, waterfall-like effect. The heart-shaped leaves emerge with a reddish-purple or bronze tint in spring, gradually transitioning to a striking blue-green as they mature in summer. In autumn, the foliage transforms yet again, displaying a range of colors from bright yellow to apricot, and often emitting a sweet, burnt sugar or cotton candy-like scent before falling. The textured leaves, with their finely pointed tips and subtle veining, add to the ornamental value of the plant throughout the growing season. In terms of floral characteristics, weeping katsura is known for its inconspicuous flowers, which are small and not particularly showy, often hidden beneath the foliage. It is the overall shape and seasonal changes in foliage color that are the main attractions of this plant. The bark of the weeping katsura is smooth and has a grayish-brown color that provides a subtle backdrop to its dynamic leaf display. Overall, the weeping katsura's striking form and captivating seasonal color shifts make it a highly desirable specimen in the landscape, prized for its aesthetic appeal and elegant stature.
About this plant
Katsura, Weeping Katsura, Weeping Katsuratree
Cercidiphyllum japonicum var. pendulum.
Katsura tree is generally recognized as non-toxic to humans. There is no well-documented evidence of the toxicity of the Katsura tree upon ingestion, and it is not known to cause any symptoms of poisoning. Thus, ingesting parts of the Katsura tree is unlikely to result in negative consequences for humans.
Katsura tree is also considered non-toxic to pets. It is not associated with poisoning in animals such as dogs and cats, and there is no evidence suggesting that ingestion of any parts of the Katsura tree would lead to toxic symptoms or adverse health effects in pets.
Color of leaves
25 feet (7.62 meters)
25 feet (7.62 meters)
- General Benefits
- Aesthetic Appeal: Adds visual interest to landscapes with its weeping form and delicate foliage.
- Seasonal Interest: Offers vibrant seasonal changes, from lush green in summer to striking yellows and oranges in autumn.
- Shade Creation: Provides cool, dappled shade in garden areas, making it a favorable spot during hot weather.
- Habitat Support: Acts as a habitat and food source for various bird and insect species.
- Soil Erosion Control: Its root system helps stabilize soil, reducing erosion in sloped areas.
- Low Maintenance: Requires minimal pruning and care, making it suitable for low-maintenance landscapes.
- Adaptability: Tolerates a range of soil types and conditions, making it versatile for different garden settings.
- Compact Size: Its size is well-suited for smaller gardens where space is a consideration.
- Medical Properties
This plant is not used for medical purposes.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Culinary interest – The leaves of the Katsura tree are sometimes used in Japan to make a type of sweet tea called "Katsura-cha," which is enjoyed for its unique flavor.
- Bonsai – The Katsura tree can be trained as a bonsai for enthusiasts who appreciate its attractive foliage and graceful form.
- Education – The Katsura tree is often used in botanical gardens and arboreta for educational purposes to showcase its distinctive heart-shaped leaves and striking fall color display.
- Photography – Because of its visual appeal throughout the seasons, the Katsura tree is a popular subject for nature and landscape photographers.
- Literature and folklore – In Japan, the Katsura tree is sometimes mentioned in literature and folklore, symbolizing elegy and nostalgia.
- Art inspiration – Artists may use the Katsura tree's form and changing colors as inspiration for various forms of art, including painting and sculpture.
- Woodworking – The lightweight, workable wood of the Katsura tree is sometimes used in fine woodworking and for crafting musical instruments in Japan.
- Garden design – This tree is often featured in Japanese garden designs for its serene appearance and its representation of change through the seasons.
- Seasonal festivals – In regions where the change of seasons is celebrated, the Katsura tree's dramatic shift in color can be an important aspect of autumn festivals.
- Urban planning – The Katsura tree is sometimes planted in urban areas for its aesthetic value and relatively compact size, suitable for street trees and public parks.
- Feng Shui
The Katsura tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The Katsura tree is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Transience: Known as the Katsura tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum is cherished for its heart-shaped leaves and their vibrant autumn color transition. Its fleeting autumn beauty is often associated with the transient nature of life, reminding us of the constant changes and the need to appreciate the present.
- Memory: The falling leaves of the Katsura tree emit a distinctive sweet scent, reminiscent of burnt sugar or cinnamon. This evocative aroma is tied to memory, as scents have a unique ability to recall past experiences deeply embedded within us.
- Refinement: The elegant, weeping form of the Katsura tree, combined with its color and fragrance, highlights a symbolic association with grace and refinement. It is often used in landscape design to add a touch of elegance.
- Connection with Nature: The Katsura tree's native origin from Japan connects it symbolically to Japanese gardens, where there is an emphasis on harmony with nature, suggesting a deeper connection to the natural world for those who appreciate or plant it.
The Weeping Katsura requires consistent moisture, and it's important to water it deeply whenever the top few inches of soil are dry. Generally, this will mean providing about 1-2 gallons of water weekly, adjusting for rainfall and temperature, to maintain a consistently moist soil environment. During hot, dry spells, you might need to water twice a week, but be careful not to overwater as soggy soil can lead to root rot. Reduce watering in the fall and water sparingly in winter, when the tree is dormant and its water requirements are minimal.
The Weeping Katsura tree thrives in areas with full sun to partial shade. It's important to choose a spot where the tree can receive at least four to six hours of direct sunlight per day. While it can tolerate some shade, too much can lead to leggy growth and reduced foliage quality. An ideal location would prevent harsh afternoon sun in hotter climates to protect the tree from scorching.
The Weeping Katsura tree grows best in a range of temperatures, with the ideal conditions falling between 60°F and 75°F. It can withstand minimum temperatures down to about -10°F in winter and is generally hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. Extreme temperatures above 90°F may stress the tree, so providing some shade during the hottest part of the day in warmer regions can be beneficial.
The Weeping Katsura should be pruned to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. This is typically done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning may also involve thinning out crowded branches to increase light penetration and air flow within the canopy. Occasional pruning to maintain the desired weeping form can be done as needed, but heavy pruning should be avoided to maintain the natural shape of the tree.
Katsura tree prefers moist, well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. The ideal soil mix can consist of equal parts loamy soil, peat, and sand to ensure good drainage and fertility. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5.
Katsura trees, being large landscape trees, are not typically repotted. Instead, they are planted in the ground where they can reach their full size without the need for repotting.
- Humidity & Misting
Katsura trees thrive best in an environment with moderate to high humidity levels. They can tolerate some dryness but prefer consistent humidity to maintain their health and foliage quality.
- Suitable locations
Katsura trees are large and not suitable for indoor growth.
Plant in moist, well-drained soil; full sun to part shade.
- Life cycle
The Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum) begins its life cycle as a seed which germinates in spring, provided with adequate moisture and temperature. The seedling stage is marked by the establishment of a root system and the emergence of the first set of leaves. As the seedling grows, it enters the sapling stage, where it increases in height and girth, beginning to resemble a small tree. Over several years, the sapling matures into an adult tree, capable of flowering and producing its own seeds. During its reproductive stage, the Katsura Tree develops tiny red flowers on male trees and greenish flowers on female trees, leading to the production of seeds after pollination. The tree can live for many decades, often changing color dramatically in autumn, before eventually entering senescence and dying, at which point it decomposes, returning nutrients to the ecosystem.
The Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum) is best propagated through the most popular method: softwood cuttings. This technique is typically performed in late spring to early summer when the new growth is still soft and flexible. Cuttings should be about 6 to 8 inches long and have several leaf nodes. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, dip the cut end into rooting hormone to encourage root development, and then plant the cutting into a pot filled with a mix of peat and perlite or coarse sand. The pot should be placed in a warm, humid environment with indirect light. Keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged is crucial, as is providing the cuttings with a gentle misting regularly. After several weeks, the cuttings should begin to root, at which point they can eventually be transplanted into their permanent locations.