-(Source © Nursery Horstmann DE) -
Japanese Cake Tree / Katsura Tree /
Gingerbread treeAlthough unfortunately no gingerbread grows on it, the so-called gingerbread tree is a special feature. After and during the shedding of leaves in winter, it exudes a delicious scent of caramel and cinnamon.
The Japanese cake tree / katsura tree / gingerbread tree is the last and only representative of its kind, which already existed 65 million years ago. It owes its name to the Japanese cake tree to its original homeland and its pleasantly fragrant foliage. Nobody can resist this delicious scent of freshly baked pastries and gingerbread. A tree that makes a fantastic house tree. With its aroma (bot.) Cercidiphyllum japonicum enchants the nose and with its foliage it is a magnificent sight. In autumn, this ornamental tree is in top form! The leaves of the tree shine in brilliant yellow to scarlet colors, visible from afar.
Even before the leaves sprout in spring, the katsura tree or gingerbread tree produces small reddish clusters of flowers. They are a wonderful detail that leaves plant lovers fascinated. The rather inconspicuous flowers of the Japanese cake tree are located in the leaf axils. The female flowers are reddish, the male white. After flowering, so-called follicles develop in the leaf axils of this magical woody plant. These are five to six millimeter long pods that contain the seeds. From May, the leaves shoot out, which are initially delicate bronze in color and later fresh to dull green. In autumn, the leaves take on luminous shades that oscillate between yellow and red. In a shady spot, the leaves appear cream-colored. The leaves of the tree show themselves with a special character. They are dimorphic, presenting themselves in two forms on the Katsura tree. Depending on where they sit: Leaves on the spurs are heart-shaped. The broadly oval to elliptical leaves are opposite on the long shoots. Cercidiphyllum japonicum grows as a tree or a large shrub with several stems and reaches heights of eight to ten metres. The Katsura tree can be raised as a standard so that it develops an expansive crown. It looks wonderful in front of evergreen trees and on large lawns and unfolds its presence in a unique way. Young plants can be cultivated as large shrubs in tubs. Due to its good winter hardiness, the gingerbread tree survives in the garden all year round. Even specimens of the Japanese cake tree / katsura tree / gingerbread tree in tubs overwinter outside without any problems. Only the young shoots are slightly endangered by late frost.
When choosing the right location, make sure there is sufficient distance to other trees, the Katsura tree does not like too dense vegetation. He prefers to present himself as a solitaire and attracts all visitors with his fragrance. Cercidiphyllum japonicum prefers cool locations in light shade with sufficient air and soil moisture. The soil is permeable, deep, nutrient-rich and acidic to alkaline, ideal for the tree. Sandy-loamy soils are best suited. The gingerbread tree also thrives on stony loamy soil and sandy clay soil. The magnificent autumn color of the leaves is much more intense on acidic substrates. In its original home in East Asia, the Japanese cake tree thrives in forests, on forest edges and along rivers and streams. The water requirement is also high in the home garden, especially in summer. Accordingly, constant and copious watering is advisable. If the soil is very dry, the plant reacts by shedding its leaves. Therefore, a pouring edge is recommended at the beginning. In this way, the precious water does not flow past the roots unused. In order to cover the nutrient requirements of this attractive ornamental tree, it is advisable to work in ripe compost or horn shavings in spring. A pruning is usually not necessary. The Japanese cake tree develops into a graceful tree without pruning. However, it makes sense to regularly cut out dead branches and shoots of the Katsura tree. In order to restrict the crown for reasons of space, only the one-year-old shoots should be shortened. In this way, the gingerbread tree keeps its beautiful shape and remains a beautiful and exceptionally fragrant eye-catcher in the garden for many years.
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