Cercidiphyllum japonicum





  • large forest tree of Japan and China
  • hardy to zone 4

Habit and Form

  • large deciduous tree
  • 40-60 ft. tall
  • 20-30 ft. wide
  • some trees pyramidal, others wide spreading
  • dense crown
  • coarse winter texture

Summer Foliage

  • simple opposite leaves
  • broad ovate rounded leaves
  • cordate leaf base
  • crenate margins
  • leaves resemble redbud (Cercis)
  • leaves emerge purple, mature to bluish green

Autumn Foliage

  • outstanding display
  • yellow to apricot fall color
  • colors early in season
  • autumn leaves give off spicy, brown sugar odor


  • open before leaves in March-April
  • green and not showy
  • dioecious


  • small pods borne 2-4 on stalk
  • pods release thin winged seeds


  • brown
  • shaggy and peeling on old trunks


  • not easy to transplant
  • rich moist well-drained soil
  • pH adaptable
  • water during dry periods

Landscape Use

  • specimen for parks, large lawns and golf courses
  • can be used as a street tree


  • require water during establishment, dry periods
  • size limits use to large spaces
  • not easy to transplant

ID Features

  • opposite, rounded leaves like redbud
  • small pods with winged seeds
  • sweet smell as leaves color in fall
  • small reddish opposite buds, appressed
  • brown shaggy pealing bark


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Aureum' - The leaves mature to yellow after emerging purplish/green.

'Heronswood Globe' - An unusual dwarf form with a tight, globular habit to 15' tall. Good for smaller gardens.

'Pendula' - A weeping form, with graceful pendulous branches. The plant reaches 15' to 25' tall. 'Tidal Wave' and 'Amazing Grace' are other weepings forms, some with a more strongly weeping habit.

'Ruby' - A more dwarf form, only reaching perhaps 30' tall, with leaves suffused with a bluish-purple hue.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.