Regal Katsuratrees

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Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is one of my favorite trees, providing an array of foliar colors throughout the season and a sometimes elusive, but wondrous aroma of crème brulee on fallen Autumn leaves. I could go on and on, but it is better to hear from the master.

Michael Dirr in his “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” writes of katsuratree: “New leaves emerge a beautiful reddish purple and gradually change to bluish green in summer; fall color varies from yellow to apricot...leaf is shaped like a redbud (Cercis) leaf...the senescing (fall-coloring) leaves give off a delightful spicy cinnamon-brown sugar odor, several students liken the odor to cotton candy...”


Katsuratree drive at Regis College



“…Overwhelming in overall attractiveness...If I could use only one tree this would be my first tree...the planting at Regis College, [MA] consists of numerous seedling trees lining either side of a long semicircular drive and in the fall it is absolutely unbelievable; worth first class airfare to see the spectacle.” 

Though he wrote these words decades ago, when I found myself within driving distance of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts earlier this week, I had to stop. Time has not been overly kind to some of these katsuratrees, but enough of their reign remains that one of these years I shall heed the call and visit in October.  


Katsuratrees, healthy and declining at Regis