The fall foliage I uploaded yesterday leaned strongly towards reds. Yet, sometimes yellow can make an equal statement. Especially a yellow intense enough to literally drag me down the street to investigate.
Golden fall foliage: Katsura tree
Meet the Japanese katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), a tree that should be planted more often in Toronto. This picture is just as it came out of the camera, with no colour boost. Not one little bit.
And here’s how it looks from afar. Isn’t that clear, rich yellow something else? On an overcast afternoon like today, this was sunshine on a stick; a golden pool amid the darker foliage all along the street.
I read recently that katsura’s autumn leaves give off a scent like candy floss. That would be very pleasant indeed, but my nose didn’t detect any today.
What says this is a katsura? Mostly, the small, simple oops, I meant smooth-edged [I knew as soon as I hit Publish that “simple” didn’t mean “smooth-edged.” Simple leaves are simply not compound.], heart-shaped leaves.
The name Cercidiphyllum means roughly “with leaves like a Cercis” or redbud. On this specimen, the shape is enhanced by a feathered pencilling of dark green at the edges. I wonder if that happens every year?
Katsuras tend to have a vase-shaped branching habit you can begin to see in the tree above, but which can be more pronounced and multi-stemmed.
Closer to home, this katsura at right in a more exposed position was photographed in May. Its foliage is virtually gone right now. Squint carefully at the picture’s upper right corner, and you can almost make out the upward branching pattern.
Katsuras are among the choices available through Toronto’s street tree program, which also includes a number of local and North American native trees. This tree is a well-behaved guest, however, and is deserving of consideration.
It’s clear some of the local wildlife concurs.