Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Morioka Weeping’

You probably expected a photograph from my recent travels today. Alas, no – all in good time. Instead, I thought I’d share a photograph taken late Friday in UBC’s Asian Garden, where the early evening sun illuminated the cascade of still-growing leaves. I don’t often take images with human constructs in them (i.e., the bench), but it seems appropriate today as I return from vacation. Perhaps I was sitting in the bench and now I’m back to work? Or perhaps the empty bench is inviting you to stay and enjoy? Or…? Let’s leave it open to interpretation.

In the local urban landscape, I sometimes think katsura trees are overused. That sentiment changes once I smell the burnt sugar scent from the decaying leaves in late autumn – then there can’t be enough of them. The garden’s interpretative sign for Cercidiphyllum goes into more detail about the genus. You can also see photographs of this particular katsura tree taken from a different perspective in both late spring and winter in this thread on the garden’s forums.

Science resource link: Science Buzz from the Science Museum of Minnesota (and its weblog commenters!) won the 2006 Best Overall Museum Web Site at the Museums and the Web conference I attended in the middle of my vacation. Kudos to them and their commitment to science education!

Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Morioka Weeping'

11 responses to “Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Morioka Weeping’”

  1. Beverley

    Cercidiphyllum japonicum – Z5 – RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

  2. phillip lacock

    the tree beside the bench…with a little imagination…could be a statue of saint francis…saint of small living things!

  3. Ron B

    >In the local urban landscape, I sometimes think katsura trees are overused.http://www.arthurleej.com/a-overplanted.html
    Within the realm of Katsura cultivars the particular value of ‘Morioka Weeping’ (syn. C. magnificum ‘Pendulum’) is that it develops an elevated crown without staking.

  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Phillip – agreed (and sorry I didn’t make it out to Roswell to visit – another year when I find a way to southeast New Mexico and northwestern Texas!)
    To add on to what Ron mentioned, you can locally find an avenue full of katsura as street trees on 49th Ave east of Granville. You can tell which homeowners water the plants for the city and which do not by the height of the trees (as pointed out to me by Douglas Justice)..

  5. Douglas Justice

    A Paean to the Katsura
    I agree that Cercidiphyllum japonicum is a common tree, that it performs best in moist soil, and is a surface-rooter in thin soils, but I’m reluctant to say that it’s over-planted in Vancouver and I would never say that it’s awkwardly gigantic. I don’t often disagree with Arthur Lee Jacobson, but I don’t think there’s an awkward sequence in the katsura’s genome. I consider it one of the few eventually large trees suitable for small (ground level) spaces, as the footprint is relatively small, at least for the first 50 years. I think it’s so good, I continue to encourage people to plant it.
    The beauty of the katsura is undeniable, except, perhaps, to those enamored of the overstated in trees. Some refer to its ascending main stems and tiered horizontal branches as its best feature. Others credit the new leaves, which emerge copper-red accompanied by thousands of scarlet stamens (or stigmas) and catch the morning sun like so many tiny rubies. The impeccable, fully developed leaves capture all available light but shed rain in rivers of beads. They glow in modest fiery tones in autumn, often branch by major branch. The scent of burnt sugar—produced by the senescing leaves—in the autumn air is often mentioned by those who notice such things. I find its freedom from pests and disease is positively extraordinary, but one of its most valuable features is its ability to avoid being pruned; i.e., to escape the notice of the saw-wielding butchers. I can’t think of another deciduous tree that is more often left to its own devices, and that is positively inspiring.
    Up north, in the cooler city of Vancouver, katsura is mostly as near to perfect as one can find in a tree. It, or something very close to it, was native here during the Miocene, so I consider it a native of sorts. Katsura is in a different league than the truly misguided and stultifying plantings of European birch, little leaf linden, American sweetgum, red maple and Austrian pine. Now those are over-planted.

  6. Ron B

    Maybe you don’t have so many being planted up there.
    “In Seattle, common, popular; nearly all are relatively young. It is attractive, strong, troublefree–though thristy. For more information see the ‘Arboretum Bulletin’, Fall 1982.” –TREES OF SEATTLE – SECOND EDITION

  7. Tom Shanahan

    I was debating between a Weeping Katsura Cercidiphyllum ajaponicum Pendulum and a “Alba” Redbud Tree. After researching information and photos on the web, Douglas Justice’s explanation of the Katsura (weeping or otherwise) Tree helped me to make my decision. Katsura it is..
    Thank for painting that picture in words for me.

  8. Suzanne

    I live in Yakima Washington and was considering the Weeping Katsura for my backyard. But as I have been reading there are issues with water consumption. Would this beautiful tree do well in a dry climate such as we have in eastern Washington, with plenty of watering during the summer months?

  9. Daniel Mosquin

    It would grow, I think – zone-wise it should be fine. The question of whether it is appropriate to grow something that will require heavy water input (your summers are drier than ours) is something for you to decide. Do they have any at the arboretum there?

  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Suzanne, I tried my best to see if there were any in the Yakima Arboretum while driving through on the weekend – no luck. I didn’t have the chance to stop in during this trip for a closer look.

  11. David

    I live in Charlotte, NC. I have been reading good things about the Katsura tree. It seems the Katsura is somewhat hard to find in NC. A local nursery has a weeping Katsura(Cercidiphyllum magnificum). Just wondering if anyone has thoughts on the weeping Katsura, how would it do in this area and are the colors and fragrance “as good” on this one, as compared to others?

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