Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

South of the Environmental Studies Building Map

Identified by their round, slightly heart shaped leaves, nine Katsuras line the south face of the Environmental Studies Building. They were planted as ~10 ft. trees in 2004. In not many decades they will be shading the upper windows of the building; some Katsuras can attain heights of over 120 ft. (The tallest in Washington State is in Washington Park Arboretum, near the University. It is nearly 100 ft. tall). However, the Dean's office on the top floor may retain its view; the common height of a mature katsura is approximately 70 ft.

Katsuras are prized for their leaves, which have a distinct bronze hue in spring, and in fall assume a highly decorative yellow-orange color. Some authorities also state that the leaves smell of sugar, fruit and/or berries, a description more frequently associated with wine than trees. As the species name indicates, katsuras are native to Japan (and, apparently, China); they were introduced into the United States in the 1860s.