Common name: Japanese Cedar
Plant type: Evergreen
Origin: Japan and China
A great well respected large coniferous tree, generally 15-30m x 6-12m, can reach over 50m, noble and engulfing, can become massive, has radiating branches lateral/horizontal, generally right angles, randomly whorled, stretching out to significant length, combining some twisting, upright growth, and drooping growth with lots of foliage clumps and clusters, dense tufts, usually thickest at the outer, lots of twigs swept around as well, can still see the trunk, usually an irregular conical crown, but conical crown shape still noticeable, can develop a rounded form, old specimens can be towering with massive branch stretches, as if it is a forest within itself.
Older specimens can develop a buttressed trunk as well as multiple leaders, but usually a single leader, fibrous reddish-brown and grey-brown colour, vertical ridges and furrowing, can have some peeling or dislodged/flaked strips of bark. Has high quality timber. Also quite picturesque as it commands an area for its development, such as ornamental, parks, gardens, avenue/street planting.
The Cryptomeria genus have been used as commemorative trees and are proud conifers frequently planted around temples and shrines, C. japonica native to the hills and lower mountains of Japan, also found in China, perhaps once populating the Szechwan-Sichuan border, but may have been cultivated and/or naturalized in China.
There are numerous cultivated varieties. C. japonica is not actually a Cedar. It is a beloved tree in Japan and considered by many to be a national tree. You will find some classification supporting C. japonica in the CUPRESSACEAE family.
In Australia it does best in the south-east, deep moist soils, full sun to semi-shade, and tolerates short droughts. Enjoys warm moist conditions but can tolerate some frost, can be a fast grower, long lived.
Awl shaped, spirally arranged, decurrent bases, dark green, fairly stiff but not prickly, adult leaves 10-15mm long, can be incurved, like curved needles. Buds are usually very small.
Monoecious, persistent for several years, cones are round, female globose, 20mm wide, with wedge-shaped woody scales, each scale has a small rough/rigid hook on the surface/upper edge, starting green and ripening to red-brown within one year.