CERCIDIPHYLLUM japonicum is a wonderful tree in more than one way. Its green, almost round foliage with its red petioles (see photo) is simply magnificent.
In addition, its shape is quite elegant with its very thin branches. It remains so even in winter when it has lost its foliage.
Even if we sometimes read that this tree can reach 10 to 45 meters in height, you should know that it grows very slowly and that in Europe it will not exceed 6 meters after twenty years.
Finally, the show reaches its peak in autumn. At this time, the foliage begins to take on flamboyant colors (green, yellow, orange, and red). Take a look at the photos above. When the leaves, then, dry out, you will understand its common name of caramel tree (synonym katsura). In fact, it will then diffuse a pleasant caramel scent in your garden.
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How to plant and grow CERCIDIPHYLLUM japonicum
Plant the caramel tree in full sun or partial shade, in a bedding or alone. It loves damp, even soaked, places.
The soil can be light, normal, or heavy with an acidic, neutral or calcareous pH.
If necessary, you can prune it in February or March before new shoots appear.
Above all, this plant is perfectly resistant to cold (even below -20° C).
For a good preparation of the pot or ground, we have designed specific instructions available here. Furthermore, discover here how to water your garden and save water.
History and Origin
CERCIDIPHULLUM japonicum species is classified as “threatened” in China. However, if we include Japanese populations, it falls into the “least concern” category. Its natural habitat is also located in these two countries.
In the past, caramel trees in China were called “CERCIDIPHYLLUM japonicum var. sinense”. However, nowadays, they are considered the same.
In addition, C. japonicum is a very popular ornamental tree in Japan and many other countries, particularly for its unusual foliage, its graphics and the caramel scent released in the fall.
This species is dioecious (distinct unisexual individuals) and also known to be resistant to parasites.
Moreover, the Japanese exploit them for the production of timber. Furthermore, given its hardness, it is used for making the go game’s board.