Japanese Red Cedar, Cryptomeria japonica,
Evergreen, Fast Growth, , Christmas Tree, Moist Soils
Japanese Red Cedar is a tall, cone shaped evergreen with bluish green foliage and a massive trunk with thick reddish brown bark that shreds and peels in long strips. This is a fast growing tree that, in its native habitat, can get more than 180 feet tall with a trunk diameter exceeding 12 feet. Ornamental specimens are rarely more than 60 feet tall. The branches are arranged in horizontal tiers, ascending at first, then drooping near their ends. The flattened, wedge-shaped leaves are about 1/2 inch long and point forward, while their bases clasp the twigs. The leaves are overlapping and crowded in 5 ranks that spiral around and completely cloak the twigs. Male and female cones, 1 inch or less in length, are on the same tree. Two varieties are recognized: var. japonica has a dense habit and thick, spreading branches; var. sinensis has a looser habit and slender, drooping branches.
Cryptomeria japonica is the only species in its genus and Cryptomeria is one of only 10 genera in the ancient family, Taxodiaceae, which once shared the landscape with the dinosaurs. Today these strange and wonderful trees (only 18 species in the whole family) occur nowhere but eastern Asia, North America and Tasmania. Some well known species in the Taxodiaceae are the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostrobiodes), California Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichus).
Common Names: Lobbii Japanese Red cedar, Japanese Cedar, Peacock Pine, Sugi, Goddess of Mercy Cedar,
Culture: Japanese Red Cedar is one of very few conifers that will coppice, (sprout back from cut stumps). You can regenerate an old specimen by cutting back the trunk to 2 to 3 feet above ground, then selecting which sprout(s) to keep and which to cut.
Uses: Bonsai, Christmas Tree. The stately Japanese Red Cedar makes an imposing specimen. Use them in a group to create a visual screen or windbreak. Japanese Red Cedars are often planted along avenues.