Last updated on December 20, 2022
Someone heard about and asked me the location of a Katsura tree (Cercidipyllum japonicum) on the Plymouth State University campus. We actually have 11 specimens. Two of the most centrally located are close to Memorial Hall, East side, towards Rounds and Reed Halls, refer to map.
Why the special interest in these trees? I imagine in part because of the scent they give off; they smell like carmel, burnt sugar, toffee apples, or cotton candy.
The katsura tree is an ornamental on our campus, native to Eastern China, Japan and Korea.
The leaves have a heart-like shape and teeth. The leaves start out a burgundy/purplish-green color in spring, turn green in summer, and finally a burnt-orange to yellow in fall.
According to the Yale Nature Walk website of Yale University, the trees “were introduced to the United States in 1865 by Thomas Hogg Jr, whose family owned a plant nursery on Broadway in Manhattan. In 1862, Thomas was appointed to be a U.S. Marshal by Abraham Lincoln, and was sent on a diplomatic mission to Japan. In the 10 years that he served there, he sent the seeds of several noteworthy garden plants home to his brother.”
The best detailed description of the tree with an array of images of all parts of the tree is on the Canadian Tree Tours, Tree Species, Katsura Tree page, https://canadiantreetours.org/species…/Katsura-tree.html