The katsura tree, native to Japan, makes an excellent specimen or shade tree in Midwestern landscapes. Its foliage offers an array of color throughout the year. In spring, heart-shaped leaves emerge reddish-purple, changing to blue-green as they mature. In autumn the color display changes again as leaves turn clear yellow or apricot color.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Alkaline soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Early fall
- Mid fall
Size and Form
40 to 60 feet high and 25 to 30 feet wide; form at maturity may be pyramidal or more rounded
Tree & Plant Care
Spring planting is best to allow root development. The Katsura tree is shallow-rooted and will benefit with a layer of mulch to maintain a cool root environment. Additionally, this tree is drought-sensitive and should be watered in dry conditions.
Disease, pests and problems
Leaf scorch is common in hot, dry sites.
No common serious pests.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China and Japan.
Bark color and texture
Bark is light gray and flaky to slightly shaggy.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Opposite to sub-opposite leaf arrangement; simple, 2 to 4 inch, heart-shaped leaves emerge reddish, changing to a blue-green. Lear margin has rounded teeth. Fall color is a clear yellow.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male and female flowers on separate trees. Both genders fairly inconspicuous.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small (3/4 inch) pods on female trees
Cultivars and their differences
Weeping Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Pendulum’): 15 to 25 feet high and 20 to 25 feet wide; weeping form