Characteristics of Japanese Cedar Trees (Cryptomeria japonica) in the Wild

Cryptomeria japonica
Japanese cedar or Japanese Redwood is a genus of evergreen trees from the Cupressaceae family, which previously belonged to the Taxodiaceae family. The genus Cryptomeria includes only one species, namely Cryptomeria japonica or Cupressus japonica.

This tree was formerly considered endemic to Japan, where at that time it was known as Japanese Sugi or Tsugi. However, this tree has been cultivated in China since ancient times, and it is often considered a native Chinese tree.

The simple shape of the Japanese cedar tree makes it a popular ornamental tree. Its wood has long been used in furniture and tooling in China.

The most famous population of Japanese cedar trees in China is on Tianmu Mountain, it is estimated that there grow Japanese cedar trees that are 1,000 years old.


Characteristics of Japanese Cedar Leaf

Cryptomeria japonica Leaf
Source :

Leaves arranged in a spiral, needle-like, about 0.5-1 cm in length.


Characteristics of Japanese Cedar Fruit

Cryptomeria japonica Fruit
Source :

The fruit is round cone-shaped, 1-2 cm long, and contains about 20-40 seeds of scales.


Characteristics of the Japanese Cedar Tree

Cryptomeria japonica Tree
Source : Mulder

The Japanese cedar tree can grow to a height of 70 meters and a trunk diameter of 4 meters. The bark is brownish-red and has a vertical stripe.

The tree looks similar to the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) but can be distinguished by its much smaller leaves than the Giant Sequoia. It could be said that Japanese cedar leaves are only a quarter of the size of Giant Sequoia leaves.


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