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Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

Katsura Tree As you walk along the upper part of Valley Drive in September, you may notice a distinctive odor that had been characterized as "burnt sugar," "caramel," or "cotton candy." This aroma comes from the falling leaves of two deciduous Katsura trees planted in 1965. The Katsura tree is native to moist forests in the mountains and lowlands of Japan and China. These tree are the only living remnant of a large, diverse plant family known from the fossil record.

Katsura Tree is considered to be an excellent shade tree. In China and Japan the soft white wood is used for making furniture and paneling.

Katsura Tree Leaves Katsura Tree Trunk The dark blue green, heart-shaped leaves are 2 to 4 in. wide and turn to an apricot to yellow color in the fall. The scientific genus name Cercidiphyllum refers to the leaves which resemble those of our native Redbud (Cercis). Katsura trees grow to heights of 40 to 60 ft. The trunks flare out at the base, with shallow roots often prominent at the soil surface. The species is dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate trees.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu