Cryptomeria japonica

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Read more about this beauty!

During the Gardens'  ‘Festival of Lights’, the star shining like a beacon over the entire garden is perched in the stately Cryptomeria japonica , the subject of this months bloom blast.

Cryptomeria, commonly called Japanese cedar, (not related to true cedars, Cedrus) was thought to be part of the Redwood family, but recent analysis proves its close relation to the Cyprus family.

Forms selected for ornament and timber production long ago in China had been described as a distinct variety Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis (or even a distinct species, Cryptomeria fortunei), but they do not differ from the full range of variation found in the wild in Japan, so it has been concluded that the species never occurred in the wild in China.

Known as the national tree of Japan, Sugi was planted around temples and shrines centuries ago growing to 100 feet with sweeping branches and sculptural trunks, creating an ambiance of reverence.

Cryptomeria japonica may have only one species but the variability within the species has produced interesting ornamentals for the discerning gardener and conifer collector.

Japanese Plume Cedar or Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ is very lovely, possessing fine textured feathery foliage that is slightly pendulous at the tips. Perhaps the loveliest feature is the winter – cold weather, dark maroon foliage just in time for the holidays, becoming bright green for spring.

Unlike the species, C.j. ‘Elegans’ grows to a dense twenty feet, making it a perfect specimen for a screen.

So many plants, so little space, but Cryptomeria j. ‘Mushroom’ is love at first sight. Combining the juvenile foliage of C.j. ‘Elegans’ and a mounding mop head habit of dramatic mahogany highlights, demanding a space in the garden as it grows to a demur 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

Texture, texture, texture, that is Cryptomeria j. ‘Spiralis’, queen of ropey ringleted dense foliage.

The bright gold color on the branch ends contrast against the lime-green inner branches, creating a lovely two tone effect. It appears quite shrubby for the first few years but will form a central leader growing to a stately twenty feet with an eight foot girth that commands praise for its amazing qualities.

The Gardens invite you to view these lovely trees any day in the Gardens Nursery and under the great star during the ‘Festival of Lights’.


Submitted by:
Lily Ricardi, Gardener/Horticulturist