Plant of the Week

Cercidiphyllum japonicum:

Whilst working in the spring garden, I was struck by a sweet scent. Assuming the kitchen were busy baking pastries, it took me a few minutes to realise that the smell was actually coming from a nearby tree:  Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

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This little tree (which stands less than 10 meters tall) is native from Asia and is well known for its leaves, which smell of caramel. It’s also known as Katsura tree or ‘arbre au caramel’ in French.

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When the leaves fall, they produce a distinct caramel scent – particularly in autumn.  It prefers an acid soil and a sheltered exposure.

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Words and photographs by Martin

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