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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cryptomeria japonica - Japanese Cryptomeria

Japanese Cryptomeria is a beautiful evergreen conifer seen regularly around older parts of Santa Cruz County. They are upright, narrowly pyramidal growing to 50-60'. Almost always with one strong cental leader. Most of those seen are in the 40-50 foot range indicating they have been here for a while.

Leaves are evergreen, awl shaped (more narrow and pointed than needle like) spirally arranged growing curving inward towards the stem, 1/2 to 3/4" long. They tend to be soft to the touch but sharply pointed. May develop a purplish cast in cold winter areas. 

Cones are rounded, about 1" diameter with a sharp hook on the end of the peltate scales.

These are the male cones. These are all done releasing pollen and have turned from yellow to brown. (The look like miniature Mountain Hemlock cones to me.)

Reddish brown fibrous bark exfoliates in strips. Really pretty.

Lots of cultivars, especially dwarf ones seen in bonsai but you see lots of a dwarf cultivar with soft foliage called 'Elegans'.

Misidentification: Leaves could remind one of an Araucaria heterophyllum, or perhaps a Sequoiadendron, but the stringy bark and cones are good features to look for.


263 Aptos Beach Rd is a nice large one.

Santa Cruz
Mission Plaza as seen in the first picture
220 Maple St at the corner of Center St.

836 38th St. 2 large specimens with an 'Elegans' just up the street as 854.

3210 N. Main St is a very nice old one.

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