Another Perfect Plant: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’

Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' 2.jpg

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’

A smaller cultivar of what can be a towering species, Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’ maxes out its growth at about 10’. A useful screening tree for a sunny location out of strong winds, the darkly colored black foliage provides an excellent background for lighter colored plants in front of it.

The species is native to Japan where forestry policies after WWII encouraged extensive monocultural plantings to rebuild the timber industry and reforest barren hillsides. This had a number of ecological ramifications but the most significant problem for humans happened once the trees matured – clouds upon clouds of pollen. Pollen is a powdery substance produced by plants that when ingested can cause the body to produce antibodies to combat the invading allergen.

The allergic reaction can cause a myriad of symptoms familiar to most sufferers – itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. Though this can be a problem where the trees have been planted over hundreds of acres, it isn’t usually a problem in the home landscape and should not discourage you from planting an otherwise unique and lovely tree.

References:
SFGate
John Hopkins Medicine
The New York Times

Photo reference:
Gardener Direct

 

 

 

 

Paul Cady

Paul is a landscape designer with a professional background in public horticulture. His years of experience maintaining both public and private gardens provide an informed perspective on choosing, arranging, and placing plants in the landscape. He is committed to creating landscapes that will survive and thrive over time through making informed plant choices and developing written landscape management plans.