Dumbarton House Featured Flora: Japanese Cedar

Written by: Kathy Clare, Garden Volunteer

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’

The Japanese Cedar is native to forested areas in Japan and China and is a species in the Redwood family. The foliage resembles the Giant Sequoias’. It is grown as an ornamental in parts of the United States and southern Canada. The ‘Yoshino’ has a symmetrical, pyramidal form and typically matures to 30-40 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. The lime-green to blue-green ¾-inch evergreen needles are spirally arranged along drooping branchlets. Spherical 1-inch cones appear at the shoot ends. Best grown in moist, rich, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. It can be injured by frost.

The name is derived from the Greek cryptos, hidden, and meros, part, because the parts of the flower are not easy to distinguish. It is the national tree of Japan where it is planted at temples and shrines. The tree works well as a windscreen and is a graceful, handsome specimen for parks.