Nature Notes: Weeping katsura

The summer foliage of the weeping katsura is lush and lovely. This tree can be found at coordinates 39°25’02.4”N 77°25’28.8”W.

This article is part of a series of Nature Notes columns on Frederick County’s trees. Discover Frederick’s diverse array of trees on a self-guided walking tour. To see all of the trees, it should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Currently there are 27 trees; a list and a map are available at visitFrederick.org.

The weeping katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Pendulum’) is a lovely non-native, but non-invasive tree.

The katsura has been cultivated for years due to the four-season interest it adds to the landscape. In the spring, its foliage emerges with a hint of purple; the summer foliage is lush and lovely; and in the fall, it has a buttery yellow color and emits a subtle, brown sugar scent as you walk by. In the winter, especially for this weeping specimen, it has a lovely shape and pretty bark.

According to ancient Chinese and Japanese folklore, a man on the moon was being punished and was assigned by the gods to cut down the giant katsura tree that grows there, but because of the tree’s magic, it could not be cut down, so the man on the moon is trapped there forever, and the shadow of the giant tree is visible to this day as the big shadowy area on the surface.

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