T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Cedar)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Taxodioideae
Genus: Cryptomeria
Species: C. japonica
Binomial name: Cryptomeria japonica
Common name:
Japanese cedar, Sickle pine, Sugi (in Japan)

Cryptomeria japonica homeland is Central and southern Japan and China. Though it is called the Japanese cedar the tree is not related to the cedars. It can grow into a very large evergreen tree up to 70 m high with a pyramidal crown.
It can have up to a 4m trunk diameter, with red-brown bark which peels in vertical strips. 
The leaves are arranged spirally, needle-like, 0.5-1 cm long, curving forward and spirally arranged on the stem. 

Male pollen cones are present throughout winter, the turning yellow and shedding pollen in spring.   
Tiny rosettes of female strobili (similar to flower) at the tips of shoots, developing into solitary round 2-centimetre cones with about 20-40 scales are green when young then turning brown at maturity. 
This tree is tolerant of frost, wind and high rainfall and reasonably tolerant of salt spray and drought conditions.
The wood is scented, reddish-pink in colour, lightweight but strong, waterproof and resistant to decay. It is favoured in Japan for all types of construction work as well as interior panelling, etc.

Cryptomeria japonica is the national tree of Japan, commonly planted around temples and shrines, with many hugely impressive trees planted centuries ago. all upright stately and pyramidal tree with pendulous, slightly drooping branches which can be trimmed. Branches are low-growing when younger, but eventually, a clear trunk which is straight and columnar develops. Timely pruning of lower branches required to give a minimum 6-metre clear stem for timber production.

The tree below was planted approx. circa. 1860 is listed in New Zealand Tree Register. It is growing at Ratanui, 498 Carrington Road, New Plymouth.  For more details on this tree visit: http://register.notabletrees.org.nz/tree/view/106


A row of Japanese cedar at Tupare Gardens, New Plymouth, Taranaki.

An adult tree at Burgess Park, New Plymouth.

A farm shelter belt on a South Taranaki farm


The needle-like leaves.

The light green growing tips November

The male cones (microstrobilus or pollen cone)

Developing female cones early January. The female cone (megastrobilus, seed cone, or ovulate cone) contains ovules which, when fertilized by pollen, become seeds.

Developing female cones

Developing female cone

Mature female cones.

Mature female cones

An old empty cone.

A young trunk.

The distinctive bark on an old mature trunk.

Photo showing the straight grain of the wood of Cryptomeria japonica

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0