Cryptomeria japonica (L.f.) D.Don

Japanese Cedar

Tree generally growing no larger than 15 m in cultivation; there are many dwarf cultivars with various habits, leaf forms and unusual branching patterns. Description as for genus. Occurs naturally in large forests in Japan. Numerous cultivars raised in Japan are not available in Australia or the West. Naturalised in both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The word "sugi" is the name of the species in Japan and, technically, should not be used in the cultivar name.

China, Japan.

In Japan grown extensively in plantations as a timber tree.

A selection of cultivars is maintained at the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens.

Short, curved, spiny leaves. Leaves and their arrangement similar to some araucarias but the dense foliage and conical habit are generally sufficient to distinguish the 2 genera.

NSW: Bowral (Anglican Church, ptd 1935); Katoomba (St Mary's Church); Mittagong (Albert St, Uniting Church); Mt Wilson ('Cherry Cottage'); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds); Wentworth Falls ('Yester Grange' entrance). VIC: Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, group by bamboo at NW corner of Oak Lawn); Narbethong ('Hermitage'); Dandenongs (Hamer Arboretum, ptd. 1974; George Tindale Memorial Gds just inside gate); Emerald Lake (lakeside); Woodend (Golf Course). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds; St Davids Park); Plenty (Salmon Ponds).

BRANCHES TWISTED

DWARF, LONG BRANCHED

DWARF, SHORT BRANCHED

FOLIAGE VARIEGATED

GLOBOSE

SOFT LEAVED ('ELEGANS' GROUP) - VARIANT RETAINING JUVENILE FOLIAGE

LEAVES WIDESPREAD

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Taxodiaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Cryptomeria japonica 'Araucarioides'

Habit resembling an araucaria. Branches long and widespreading near the ground. Branchlets drooping. Needles short, thick, incurved and widely spaced. [Introduced to Europe c. 1860 from Japan.] vic: Emerald Lake (by car park).

Cryptomeria japonica 'Bandai-sugi'

Round and shrubby at first, branchlets contorted, needle-length extremely variable. Colouring bronze in winter. Origin Japan.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Compacta Nana'

Dwarf, globose, dense, only a few metres tall, leaves glossy bright green. This cultivar is presumed lost to cultivation in Europe. Old cultivar probably originating from Germany.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Compressa'

Dwarf, slow growing, with conical habit with numerous protruding, crowded leading branches with the needles bent back; brown in winter. Imported from Japan to Holland in 1942.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Cristata'

('Sekka-sugi' - often incorrectly spelled 'Sekkan-sugi') Conical, narrow, slow-growing, contorted, forming large cockscombs. Introduced to Europe from Yokohama nurseries in 1900.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Dacrydioides'

Branches long, slender, wide spaced. Leaves unusually short and thin, brownish in winter. Now regarded as a group name.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Aurea'

Foliage like 'Elegans' but turning yellowish green (not bronze) in winter. A New Zealand raised cultivar originating c. 1935.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Compacta'

Low shrub with straight juvenile leaves. Probably identical to 'Elegans Nana'. Origin unknown.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Nana'

Dwarf, slow growing, globose, but flattened. Needle leaves c. 2 cm long, grey green except for a purplish colouring in winter. Foliage harder than that of 'Elegans Compacta' [Origin China in the nineteenth century.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Viridis'

Like 'Elegans' but green in both summer and winter: very similar to and possibly not distinct from 'Elegans Aurea'. [Origin Holland before 1940.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans'

Dense branches and long, soft, widely-spaced leaves to 2.5 cm long that turn brilliant bronze in the autumn and winter. A widely grown cultivar developing into a large cone-bearing tree with a bushy habit. [Sent by Thomas Lobb to London's Veitch's Nursery from Japan in 1854.] sa: Mt Gambier (Bot. Gds). Nsw: Bowral (Anglican Church); Mittagong (Albert St, Uniting Church); Mt Wilson ('Yengo' &elsewhere in Blue Mts). Vic: Bogong (Township); Dandenongs ('Pirianda'); Emerald (Golf Club, massive tree; Lake, Nobelius Heritage Nursery Site and back of kiosk c. 25 m tall); Fernshaw (Reserve); Kallista (Old Williams Nursey site); Leongatha (Moss Vale Park); Maroondah (dam, several); Narbethong ('Hermitage'); Silvan (dam).

Cryptomeria japonica 'Giokumo'

A slow growing shrub with coarse green foliage. A name variously spelled (including 'Gokurya', 'Gyokrya' and others) but this considered the most likely correct spelling. [Introduced to west from Japan before c. 1968.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Globosa Nana'

Dwarf, conical, compact, branches spreading, branchlets tapering, needles short, thick and set close to stem, of variable length, bluish in winter. [Probably originating from Holland before 1930.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Jindai-sugi'

Dense, compact, conical with branch tips drooping, leaves pale green. [Origin Japan, before 1940.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Knaptonensis'

Dwarf, compact, cushion-like, with whitish foliage. [Propagated from a witches broom of 'Argenteovariegata', Italy, Isola Madre, Lake Maggiore, 1930.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Lobbii Nana'

A much confused name that might apply to 'Elegans Compacta', 'Globosa Nana' and 'Nana'. Possibly best referred to 'Nana'.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Mankichi-sugi'

A possible commercial synonym of 'Monstrosa Nana'. Like 'Monstrosa' but more round. [Originating Japan.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Monstrosa Nana'

Name possibly referring to several clones that resemble 'Bandai-sugi' and 'Monstrosa'. [Origin Japan.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Monstrosa'

Erect, sometimes almost columnar, needles often crispate and branchlets contorted, always green. Varies considerably with age from conical at first, becoming more round. [Originating Japan before 1910.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Nana'

Slow growing shrub to c. 1 m tall with drooping branch tips and varable leaves. [Introduced from China to the uk by Robert Fortune in 1846.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Pygmaea'

Dwarf, turning coppery in winter. Now regarded as identical to 'Nana' although which of these names should be given in synonymy has not been fully established. [Europe c. 1850.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan'

Tree with foliage creamy white. [Introduced to West from Japan.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiralis'

Shrubby, cushion-like, compact, low-growing, branches drooping. Needles strongly curved and twisting round stem to give a rope-like appearance. [Introduced to Europe from Japan c. 1860.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiraliter Falcata'

(probably 'Yore-sugi' in Japan from which it is barely distinguishable). Similar to 'Spiralis' but tree-like with a single stem, open habit and drooping branchlets. [Pre -1876.]

Cryptomeria japonica 'Tansu'

A small version of 'Bandai-sugi' with similar irregular growth. USA c. 1980.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmoriniana'

Dwarf, compact, slow growing, often lumpily globose. Branches short and thick. Longest leaves in the centre of the branches, pale green turning brown in winter. Discovered in Paris garden of Monsieur de Vilmorin in 1923.

Vic: Dandenongs ('Pirianda').

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Taxodiaceae
genus       Cryptomeria D.Don