Saturday, 2 May 2009

The candy-floss tree.

In my opinion this has got to be the best tree available for the garden and the best kept secret in horticulture.

Introducing Cercidiphyllum japonicum or as it's commonly known the Katsura or Candy-floss tree.

As the name implies this tree originates from Japan and is particularly good when planted in a woodland setting on neutral to acid soil.  The tree is decidious and provides a great deal of structure and interest in the garden all year round.

Here you can see the leaves of a mature tree (pictured left).  The leaves are heart shaped to ovate and in my young plant they are fringed with a thin red vein.

During the autumn this tree provides the most exquisite focal point.  When young the leaves are bronze but turn pale yellow to pink in autumn and colour up best on a good acid soil.  But the crowning glory can be fully appreciated when the leaves fall.  The air is suddenly filled with an amazing smell of burnt sugar, hence the other common name of 'Candy-floss tree'.

I first discovered this tree one autumn a couple of years ago when out walking the dogs.  We have a mature specimen in our local park which I was blissfully unaware of at the time (pictured right, complete with Maggie my Border Terrier).  This is great as the park is literally at the end of our road.  Initially I did not recognise the tree but the smell of burnt sugar was so amazing that I was led straight to it.  Since that day I have always wanted one of my own.

As documented in my last blog entry I have found a perfect specimen.  I was so happy to find the specimen and for a bargain price too!

So if you are looking for a great tree to provide a great deal of late season interest as well as all year round structure I would strongly suggest you hold out for this fantastic tree.  It's likely that you will be the only one in your social circle to own one and in autumn you will be inundated with visits from people wanting to smell the candy-floss tree!


  1. I love Katsura trees. they are very nice. good info.

  2. Smell of burnt sugar... I almost feel it. Good post Ryan!

  3. I've always wanted a weeping Katsura. The burnt sugar smell would be a bonus.

  4. I've never heard of this tree before. It sounds lovely.

  5. thankyou, you have solved our problem of the smell of candyfloss around dartington gardens so i no longer have to go round smelling everything!! great post, thanks

  6. Thank you we have had this tree in our garden for past 14 yrs and never knew its name. The smell is wonderful and unusual for a tree,just wondering where I can buy another as we are moving on and will be sorry to leave it behind so have got to have another in our new garden but cannot find it anywhere local to buy.

  7. Mystery solved, thank you! Have been going round my garden sniffing everything nearby, unable to identify the source of this amazing smell. Strange that you don't get the candy floss smell when you sniff the tree directly, instead it just seems to fill the air around it.


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