Cercidiphyllum du Japon

Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zuch.Cercidiphylllaceae (katsura family)

Origin: Asia


Katsura-tree is a medium-sized tree with a broad conical crown.

Read more about Tree, Bark, Twigs


Leaves are round with a heart-shaped or straight base and round-toothed edges. .

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Iinconspicuous male and female flowers, borne on separate trees, open along with the leaves.

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Fruits are small pods borne in groups of 2 to 4.

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Katsura-tree is medium-sized, up to about 18 m (60') in height, with a broad conical crown.

The trunk is straight and may be forked or multi-stemmed.

Bark is brown or grayish brown and shaggy. It may be furrowed on older trees.

Twigs are slender and brown. Buds borne on dwarf shoots sit snugly against the twig. Buds are small, 2 - 4 mm (about 1/10") long, with 2 reddish scales.

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Leaves are round with a heart-shaped or straight base, 5 - 10 cm (2" - 4") long.

Leaves have 3 to 5 or 7 main veins that branch from the base of the leaf. The edges have rounded teeth.

Leaves are arranged oppositely or nearly so on the branch.

In the fall, leaves turn golden to red and give off a spicy-sweet odour.

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Inconspicuous female and male flowers are borne on short shoots on separate trees. They emerge in spring along with the new leaves.

Male (pollen) flowers have numerous red and white stamens.

Female (seed) flowers have long red stigmas.

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Fruist are pods, about 2 cm (1/2" - 3/4") long, borne in groups of 2 to 4.

In the fall, the fruits split open on one side to release the seeds.

The tiny seeds are brown, thin and winged.

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This is the only species in the katsura family (Cercidiphyllaceae). However, some consider Cercidiphyllum japonicum var. magnificum to be a separate species of katsura, rather than a variety. /p>


Katsura-tree is native to China and Japan. It is related to extinct species of the Cercidiphyllum that lived in North America prior to the the end of the last Ice Age, more than ten thousand years ago. This species was imported to North America in 1865 by an American consul to Japan, who sent the seeds to his father, a horitculturalist in New York.


In its native habitat, katsura-tree can reach 30m (100') or more, and is counted as one of Japan and China's tallest deciduous trees.

Derivation of names

Cercidipyllum means "leaves like Cercis" (redbud). Redbud leaves are a similar shape to those of Katsura-tree but have smooth rather than toothed edges. Redbud flowers have showy petals while katsura flowers are inconspicuous.

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Katsura-tree IN TORONTO

Katsura-tree's place in Toronto's urban forest

Katsura-tree is occasionally planted in Toronto parks and yards for its attractive leaves and spectacular fall colour.

Landscape value and potential for home planting

Though sometimes difficult to transplant, Katsura-tree is suited to medium or lage private or public spaces. While the flowers are not, its main feature, in order to have flowers, a pair of male and female trees must be planted.

Pests and diseases: Katsura-tree is not seriously affected by pests or diseases. Katsura-tree is sensitive to drought and requires ample moisture in its early growth. Its leaves may be scalded by the sun. .

This tree is available for planting through the City of Toronto's street tree program.

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WHERE CAN I SEE Katsura-tree?

Links to maps at Canadian Tree Tours:

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