In youth, this fine-textured native of China and Japan is upright and pyramidal, but it becomes more rounded with age. It tops out at around 40 ft. At all ages, it has a light, dainty branch and leaf pattern. Brown bark is somewhat shaggy on old trees. Heart-shaped, 24-in.-long leaves emerge reddish purple, become bluish green in summer, then turn yellow to apricot in autumn. To enhance fall color, water less frequently in late summer. Foliage of some katsura trees smells like brown sugar on warm autumn days when leaves are falling and when new growth opens in spring.
Some specimens have a single trunk, but multiple trunks are more usual. 'Rotfuchs' ('Red Fox') leaves open dark purple. 'Heronswood Globe' is compact but eventually can reach 20 ft. tall and wide. Weeping forms are particularly elegant; these grow about 25 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide and include 'Amazing Grace', 'Morioka Weeping', and C. j. pendulum.
Katsura Tree Care
Katsura trees need regular moisture (especially during youth) and shelter from intense sun and drying wind. No serious pest or disease problems. Mature trees need little pruning.