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CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Black Dragon'

Image of Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon'

Mark A. Miller

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Black Dragon'

Plant Common Name

Black Dragon Japanese Cedar, Japanese Cedar, Japanese Cryptomeria

General Description

Black Dragon Japanese cedar gets its name from its dark green needles that may become a bronzy blackish green in winter's cold and sunlight. It is a compact evergreen tree with an irregular, pyramidal shape and interesting open branching.

The coarse, spirally arranged needles of this Japanese cedar are deepest green and turn striking dark shades in winter. Its clusters of small male, or pollen, cones are borne along the axils of the second year branchlet tips and pendulous reddish brown female, or seed, cones are borne singly along the branch tips. The pretty exfoliating reddish brown bark is most conspicuous on the trunks of older trees but typically obscured by the dense canopy of younger specimens.

Japanese cedar tolerates most well-drained, slightly acid, fertile soils and prefers full sun but will withstand partial shade. This is not a tree for dry or windy spots. When subjected to these stresses specimens look puny and spindly. Fungal blight is a common disease problem that can cause branch dieback. This is an excellent variety for large-scale screening or massing. It may also be considered a good replacement for southern Leyland cypress hedges destroyed by canker and bagworm infestations.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-12' / 3.0m - 3.7m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No