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CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Taisho Tama'

Image of Cryptomeria japonica 'Taisho Tama'

James Burghardt

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Taisho Tama'

Plant Common Name

Japanese Cryptomeria, Taisho Tama Japanese Cedar

General Description

The compact Japanese cedar, 'Taisho Tama', is a tidy, pyramidal, evergreen tree that has deep glossy green needles, even in winter. It is slower growing than standard forms and ideal for foundation plantings and smaller garden spaces.

The regal Japanese cedar is a lovely needled evergreen tree native to the open forests of China and Japan. It is admired for its attractive pyramidal to ovoid habit, coarse green needles and straight trunk lined with attractive reddish brown exfoliating bark. Its branches are full and form billowing, cloud-like clumps of needles which make a dense canopy. This is a long-cultivated tree with many unique and distinct cultivars to include variegated and dwarf selections.

The coarse, spirally arranged needles of Japanese cedar are blue-green to bright green through the growing season and turn shades of purplish bronze to brown 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 is 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. There are many landscaping applications for Japanese cedar depending on the cultivar. More compact selections are ideal for foundation plantings and small-scale landscapes. This is a favorite tree for bonsai. Fungal blight is a common disease problem that can cause branch dieback.

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'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • 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)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • 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, Screening / Wind Break, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No