Cercidiphyllum japonicum - Katsura Tree
Family: Cercidiphyllaceae

Hear the scientific name

Cercidiphyllum japonicum is a graceful, elegant, though variable species of shade trees. Katsura Tree is characterized by blue-green foliage and, in the best of specimens, a yellow to scarlet color in autumn.

Alternate common name: Katsuratree

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  form2 form Form

-medium-sized tree, up to 40-60' tall x 35-60' wide, but generally not much taller than 40'

-narrow when young, spreading with age

-branches droop as tree grows

-female trees spreading, males more upright

-symmetrical form either oval or pyramidal

-medium to fast rate of growth


-often multi-stemmed, but can be easily trained into a single trunk form

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-heart-shaped, 2-4" long (similar to, but smaller than, Redbud, Cercis canadensis

-opposite arrangement (sometimes subopposite), neatly spaced in pairs

-margins with rounded teeth

-purplish when unfolding, then deep green (almost bluish) above, silvery green below

-petioles and veins sometimes reddish

-autumn color yellow to scarlet, but variable


-dioecious (male and female trees)

-not ornamental


-flowers on old wood


-pod, 0.50-0.75" long

-not ornamental


-reddish brown and slender

-swollen at the nodes

-buds are red and resemble a crab's pincer claws

trunk2 trunk Trunk


-grayish brown

-slightly shaggy

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-full sun to partial shade; probably performs best in light shade

-tolerant of a broad range of soil conditions but does best in moist soils

-does poorly in dry areas

-has a reputation for being difficult to transplant and slow to establish

-mostly free of pest and diseases

-moderate to rare availability, B&B


-zones 5 to 8


-native to Japan, China

U   S   A   G   E


-graceful form

-bluish foliage


-relatively trouble-free once established


-slow to establish and requires proper early management

-shallow rooted with some surface roots that interfere with lawn


-may be a street tree in suburban areas, not particularly tolerant of dry soils in more urban sites

-small lawn tree or near arge buildings

-shade tree


-medium texture overall in foliage and when bare

-moderate to high density

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-trees with bluish foliage such as some cultivars of Fagus sylvatica

-accent trees such as Cercis canadensis, Fagus sylvatica, Ostrya virginiana


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