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Cryptomeria japonica - (L.f.)D.Don.

Common Name Japanese Cedar, Sugi
Family Taxodiaceae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mountains and hills in areas of higher rainfall in S. and C. Japan[58, 200]. Rarely spontaneous[58]. Forests on deep, well-drained soils subject to warm, moist conditions, 1100 - 2500 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Cryptomeria japonica Japanese Cedar, Sugi

Cryptomeria japonica Japanese Cedar, Sugi


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Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Cryptomeria japonica is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower from February to March, and the seeds ripen from October to March. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. fortunei. Cupressus japonica.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Depurative  VD

An oil and/or a resin from the plant is depurative and also used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Incense  Shelterbelt  Wood

The leaves are very aromatic and are used as incense sticks[46, 61, 272]. A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings[200]. Wood - light, fragrant, fine grained[46, 61]. The wood is strongly rot resistant, easily worked, and is used for buildings, bridges, ships, lamp posts, furniture, utensils, and paper manufacture[1, 46, 61, 266]. The wood can be used as a substitute for Deal[146]. Old wood that has been buried in the soil turns a dark green and is then much esteemed[46, 61].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen, Street tree. Prefers a deep rich moist alluvial soil and a sheltered position in full sun[1, 11, 164]. Tolerates very acid to somewhat alkaline soils, but becomes chlorotic on shallow soils over chalk[200]. Plants are fairly wind-tolerant[200]. A very ornamental tree[1], it has been widely cultivated as a forestry tree for several centuries in Japan and there are many strains each adapted to the various local conditions[11]. Many forms, almost all of them dwarf, have also been selected for their ornamental value[185, 200]. A fast-growing tree on deep, well-drained soils in montane areas with a warm, moist climate, but intolerant of poor soils and cold, drier climates[266]. Occasionally planted for timber in Europe[50], trees do not generally do as well as could be expected in Britain, the best specimens are to be found in the west, especially in the south-west[11]. Trees can grow quite fast in the western part of the country with annual increases of 1 metre or more[185]. New growth takes place from early June to August[185]. Growth decreases rapidly with age, virtually ceasing when the tree reaches 25 metres[185]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Unlike most conifers, this species can be coppiced[81]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates better if given a short cold stratification for 2 - 3 weeks at 4°c and is then placed in a warm position[164]. Germination usually takes place within 3 - 9 weeks at 15°c[164]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. An alternative is to plant out the young trees into an outdoor nursery bed when they are about 8cm tall and grow them on for a couple of years before planting them into their permanent positions in late autumn or early spring[164]. Cuttings in the autumn in a sandy soil in a cold frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Murat KARA   Wed Nov 24 23:52:53 2004

common name:Japanese pine türkish name:Japon Çamý

   Sat Nov 21 2009

For a very unusual and quirky variety, which only grows a few centimetres each year, try Cryptomeria Globosa Nana. The drooping leaves make the plant a very appealing subject for use in glazed pots, stone pots, wood barrels, or in large rockeries (with some shade preferred and a humus rich, moist soil).

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