Trees of Japan – 8 Most Symbolic Flora Varieties

One aspect that’s often considered when discussing Japanese trees is their origins.

Although trees may be native to a specific location, they might spread across different regions. In this article, we take a look at the trees in Japan.

In other words, trees whose origins are traced to Japan will be under focus.

Some of the trees mentioned here, though native to Japan, may also be found in different locations outside Japan. As you’ll soon learn, many trees are native to Japan.

We’ll be mentioning some of these while discussing a few of them. This article will be worth your time.

Japanese Tree Names

There are about 4,500 known native plant species in Japan.

Of these many species, the Sakura or cherry blossoms are the most popular, while the Japanese cedar is Japan’s national tree. Also, these trees fall into two broad categories; evergreens and deciduous.

As expected, each species is suited for certain growing zones. In other words, these will do well in particular hardiness zones or regions over others due to climatic factors.

This is an essential factor to consider when selecting tree species to plant. However, that isn’t our main focus here.

Popular Trees in Japan

Having introduced the subject matter, it’s time to examine Japan’s different trees.

As mentioned earlier, there are many species, including the Shogun’s Ginkgo tree, black pines, giant ginkgo, Japanese white pines, Japanese cedar, saucer magnolia, yew pine, and the Sakura (cherry blossoms).

More Japanese trees include Japanese Maple and bamboo (take).

These are only a few of the many we’ll be discussing. Let’s begin immediately by looking at each tree species mentioned.

i. Black Pines

Black pines are Japanese trees famous for their aesthetic appeal. That is why they’re used for landscape decoration.

These can be divided into seedlings, Nishiki, and Tsubasa. Also, there’s the Japanese black pine tree and the Austrian black pine species.

The black pine tree varieties (seedling, Nishiki, yatsubusa) mentioned the seedling variety is mainly grown from seeds.

However, the Nishiki and yatsubusa black pine tree varieties are cultivated or grown through cutting or grafting.

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ii. Ginkgo Tree

The ginkgo is another tree that’s native to Japan. It’s commonly found at Shinto shrines and is integral to Japan’s fall landscape.

Belonging to the Ginkgoales species of trees, ginkgos are the last surviving species of their kind. They’re considered to be of religious significance too.

Ginkgo trees produce edible nuts called Kinnan. Plus, they’re dioecious or have two separate sexes. Most ginkgo trees planted in cities and parks tend to be males.

A possible reason for that might be due to the awful smell released by female ginkgo trees in autumn.

iii. Japanese White Pines

Japanese white pines are famous for their use as bonsai plants or materials.

Known varieties of this tree include Tani-mano-uki, Ogon Janome, and Goldilocks. In terms of size, this tree is mainly considered a short shrub with lots of stems.

After a decade of growth, mature Japanese white pines reach heights of around 12 to 15 ft. and wide. This translates to about 12 to 18 inches of growth each year.

Branches of Japanese white pines grow downwards while spreading across the ground surface to form a cover.

iv. Japanese Cedar Tree

Japanese cedar trees are easily identified by their attractive pyramidal shape when young.

These gradually transform into narrow oval shapes as the tree matures. Primarily valued for their ornamental features, Japanese cedar trees can live for over 600 years.

This tree species is ideal for use as border plants and windscreens. It’s essential to know the maximum height this tree reaches maturity.

The Japanese cedar grows to around 80 to 100 ft. while spreading to about 20 to 30 ft. wide. They thrive best in areas with well-drained, moist, and acidic soils.

v. Saucer Magnolia Tree

The saucer magnolia tree is one of several varieties.

The others include the large-flowered magnolia, star magnolia, Kobus magnolia, and swamp magnolia. The saucer magnolia is a hybrid of the lily magnolia and yulan magnolia, both native to Japan.

Saucer magnolia trees can be identified by their smooth, grey, and thin barks. The name of the tree is influenced by the saucer-shaped flowers it produces.

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Cultivars of the saucer magnolia tree include Verbania, Alexandrina, brozzonii, spectabilis, and Lennie.

vi. Yew Pine Tree

Yew pine trees are suitable for the temperate climates of Japan and China. They thrive best in areas having cool and moist winters as well as warm summers.

Well-drained soils are also part of the suitable conditions needed for Yew pines to grow well. These evergreen trees develop dark green foliage.

Yew trees are ideal for residential spaces, screening purposes, commercial spaces, and civic spaces. They can also be grown as background plants and also as hedge plants.

These trees grow to heights of between 25 and 50 ft. with widths of 15 to 20 ft.

vii. Sakura or Cherry Blossom Tree

Also called blossom cherry trees, Sakura trees are among the species native to Japan. There are over 200 species of Japanese cherry trees, including wild and cultivated ones.

At maturity, the tree attains a height and spread of 12 to 40″ and 20 to 30″, respectively. It has green foliage that turns golden yellow and orange in fall.

Some of the many species of this tree include the Yoshino cherry blossom, Kwanzan cherry blossom, bird cherry blossom, Okame cherry blossom, Fuji cherry blossom, Sargent’s cherry blossom, Dwarf flowering fuji, weeping Higan cherry blossom, and double weeping cherry amongst many.

viii. Japanese Maple

Japanese maple trees are popularly known for their beautiful bright red foliage.

Other attractive colors of the Japanese maple tree include orange and yellow. It’s not difficult to see why these trees have become a popular theme in Japanese poetry and art.

Japanese maple trees are among the trees used in the art of bonsai.

Leaves from this tree also have nutritional value. Multiple varieties of this tree include Bloodgood, Coonara pygmy, crimson queen, red dragon, garnet, full moon, autumn moon, Beni-Kawa, coral bark maple, and Filigree.

You might wish to know these are some examples of popular trees in Japan. While native to Japan, some of these species are widely distributed worldwide.

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