- Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
A genus of two species of plants, the sole members of the Cercidiphyllaceae.
They are native to eastern Asia, in Japan (Honshu and Hokkaido) and China
(Shanxi southwest to Sichuan and east to Zhejiang). Plants from China were
at one time separated as C. japonicum var. sinense, but no consistent
difference between Japanese and Chinese origins has been found.
Cercidiphyllum japonicum, can reach 40-45 m tall and have trunks to 2 m
diameter, and is among the largest hardwood trees in Asia. This tree has a
unique feature in autumn – its foliage smells strongly of burnt sugar or
candyfloss for about a week, after the leaves loose their chlorophyll and
turn yellow. The aroma is probably caused by esterification of sugars in
the leaves, and it scents the air around the tree on warm autumn afternoons.
This particular specimen of Katsura comes from the trunk portion that is below
ground level, closer to the roots. The trunk wood that is above ground is light,
almost a creme color with yellow sapwood streaks interspersed. On the other
hand, the trunk wood that is below ground takes on a rich, dark, brown-green color
with streaks of yellow sapwood. The darker below ground colors are caused by
the absorption of minerals directly through the trunk wood rather than the root system.
- Sakura, Mountain (Prunus serrulata or Cherry Blossom wood)
Sakura is native to Japan and is the Japanese name for ornamental cherry trees,
Prunus serrulata, and their blossoms. It is a small tree with a short single
trunk, with a dense crown reaching a height of about 8-12 m. This upright and
vase shaped cherry features an outstanding display of large double deep pink
blooms in pendant clusters. The smooth bark is chestnut-brown. It is usually
grafted on to Prunus avium roots and rarely bears fruit.
- Sugi (Cryptomeria Japonica)
- A genus of conifer in the cypress family, it is endemic to Japan,
where it is known as Sugi; this vernacular name is increasingly being used
as the English name as well, replacing the old, botanically inaccurate
name "Japanese Cedar" - the tree is not related to the cedars (Cedrus).
Sugi is the National tree of Japan, commonly planted around temples, with
many hugely impressive trees planted centuries ago. It is native only to
Japan, where it occurs naturally in pure and mixed stands from Kyushu to
N Honshu at elevations to 400 m. The wood is scented, reddish-pink in color,
lightweight but strong, waterproof and resistant.
- Yaku Sugi (Cryptomeria Japonica)
Sugi native only to the Island of Yakushima in South Japan. It is an
irregular pentagon in shape. It lies to the south of Kyushu and is part of
the Kagoshima Prefecture. The pristine Yakusugi Forest is said to have
inspired the forest setting in Hayao Miyazaki's animated film Princess Mononoke.
- Sugi Burl
- Burl found on Cryptomeria Japonica.
- Tamo (Broussonetia Kazinoki)
Native to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Central China, and the Ryukyus, Tamo is a
medium sized tree in the mulberry family often used to make paper pulp. It has
leaves that are unlobed, two-lobed, or three-lobed. This variety has leaves
that are boldly splashed with white, cream and yellow. The wood is also cream
colored tinged with brown and light violet.
- Urushi (Rhus Verniciflua)
A small Asiatic tree yielding a toxic exudate from which lacquer is obtained.
Also known as varnish tree, lacquer tree, Chinese lacquer tree, Japanese
lacquer tree, Japanese varnish tree, Japanese sumac. The common names are
somewhat misleading. Technically, the plants do not contain a poison; they
contain a potent allergen.