Japanese cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica), or Japanese cedar, is a splendid evergreen that becomes even more handsome as it matures. Although it is not as well-suited to the United States as to its native Japan, it is still an excellent tree for the Southeast.  The Japanese cedar is pyramidal when young, but at maturity the crown opens to an irregular, narrow oval form. The straight, tapered trunk, which may develop to 3 feet in diameter, supports wide-spreading branches with drooping branchlets. Branches of mature specimens will droop to the ground. The reddish-brown bark peels off in long strips, and is attractive in all seasons. The short (½ inch), glossy blue-green needles are spirally arranged, clasping the shoots and pointing toward the end of the stems, creating a “foxtail” effect. The foliage turns bronze in winter.

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