Cryptomeria japonica is a monophytic genus of cedar in the cypress family, also belonging to the family Cupressaceae. It has been described only once, and that was from a laboratory specimen collected from Japanese cedar in southeastern Japan. It is thought by some to be native to Japan, although others believe it to have been introduced during the nineteenth century by Chinese traders. It is common in coastal cedar forests, and to a lesser extent in mixed forests of mixed coniferous and deciduous forest.
It is an aromatic shrub and grows well-drained to full sun. It prefers moist to slightly dry conditions and has yellow flowers that open in a straight or arching pattern. The foliage has a fine lace-like texture and the trunk has an upright growth habit.
Japanese cedar has a long history of cultivation. It is prized for making fine furniture. Early Japanese cedar chests were used as billiard cues, and it was later prized for its wood’s ability to resist decay. Japanese cedar was introduced to Europe in the eighteenth century, and today it is grown in Eastern Europe, Western America, and Japan. Some varieties of this tree are also grown in the Pacific Rim because they grow well in partial shade.
Cryptomeria japonica is sometimes called Japanese silver birch. It is actually not a silver birch, but a variety of the conifer genus cypress. Other names are Japanese black pine and Japanese silver birch. It is sometimes called Japanese white birch. One difference between the two is that it possesses needle-like leaflets, unlike the other varieties. These leaves have six inch-long stigmata, or petals, and have a single flower stalk with two to four white stamens.
A kind of shrub, the Chinese boxwood has gray-green needles and grows in a deciduous habit. In a few years, the tree bears beautiful flowers. This plant is native to China, Korea, and Japan and is quite easy to grow. In Japan, it is used as a substitute for gyokuro (bamboo) that is not truly Asian. The Japanese cedar is cultivated mainly for use as flooring, decking, and fence lumber. It is also used for making furniture, particularly the kitchen and bathroom furniture.
The Sogyu-Horie tree is sometimes called Japanese silver pine or Sogyu-horie-hiza. The Japanese call this tree Sui Gui, which roughly means silver pine, while the Chinese call it Tu Oa. Some believe that the name Sui Gui is derived from the Japanese word “su” meaning silver, and “gui” meaning wind. In truth, however, the Japanese call the tree Sogyu-horie-hiza.
In the city of Harlingen, Texas, jody karlin is one of the local florists that offer a service known as sekiwara, or tree surgery. This service involves cutting down the branches of the local tree and then rebuilding them into a unique design. The beautiful results are spectacular. Even the stump of a Japanese cedar tree can be used to create a grand structure.
In Japan, the best trees are always planted in parks. The local government will then plant seedlings in those parks. Once those seedlings are fully grown, they are harvested and divided into two by the local park employees into the best of both worlds – the Japanese cedar and the japonica. Today, the best specimens are taken out of those parks and given to nurseries, where they are transformed into the finest Japanese maple leaf paper thinner, and the world famous Japanese redwood. Today we know that the best trees are always planted in parks.
When it comes to how to care for Japanese cedar trees, we have to understand that this type of tree requires special attention. Like any other type of tree, the Japanese cedar tree is affected by the elements – wind, rain, drought and insects. They have to be treated accordingly. In the state of North Carolina, for instance, during the winter storms the state government will close the parks to keep them safe from the extreme weather conditions.
But this is not how to care for Japanese cedar trees, since they need to be exposed to the sun in order to “heal” themselves. This is not like globosa and paper, which are damaged only when it gets hot. On the contrary, the Japanese cedar tree has very specific needs, and only when these are met can it grow properly. To care for a Japanese cedar tree, you must apply a finish coat of varnish on the trunk. This helps to protect it against the harsh elements of winter.
The Japanese maple and spruce trees are different, since they have needles that drop from their branches, instead of leaves. They are not really trees in the true sense of the word, but shrubs. These cultivars are popular in landscaping because they grow quickly and look great in the urban landscape. Their needles, called conical shapes, are very attractive to look at even when the leaves are not dropping.