Introducing the Japanese Red Cedar

Introducing the Japanese Red Cedar

(Cryptomeria japonica)

The Japanese red-cedar, known in Japanese as the sugi () literally "hair-tree",  is a long-lived evergreen conifer that can grow very large over time. Hardy to zone 6, it can grow in mild seasonal climates in Canada. In its native Japan, it can reach over 70m in height with a trunk diameter of over 4m! 

Japanese red cedar enjoys rich, moist soils with good drainage. In winter conditions some of the leaves are known to turn bronze, in summer the foliage is a deep green colour. The cones are globular, brown and 1-2cm wide and contain several dozen seeds. 

It has a reddish-brown bark, which peels off in vertical strips and somewhat similar to red-cedars that grow in Canada. The wood is fragrant with a reddish hue, very light, soft and resistant to rot and insects. It grows in a tiered manner with irregular branching, leading to trees with unique shapes.

One of the longest-lived trees in Japan, the Jomon sugi has existed for over at least 2000 years, with some estimates ranging as long as 7000 years! Over 300 metres cubed, it is the largest tree in all of Japan.

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