Katsura, Cercidilphyllum japonicum
To be found at the National Trust property at Newark Park – Park Lane, Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge GL12 7PZ.
Originating from China and introduced into the UK in 1881. In Asia it is one of the largest deciduous trees, growing to 10 – 45 metres tall. It is a very primitive hardwood species, closely related to the Magnolias and is unusual in having some features of a conifer or softwood . Each tree is a separate male or female one. The family is a very primitive one and may even predate the Ginkgo.
A more local specimen can be found in St Andrews Park, Bristol BS6.
In autumn, when the leaves change colour to a beautiful pale yellow, pinks and reds, they give off a smell of burnt sugar or caramel. Generally, they are smelled before they are seen during this short two-week period.
This delightful, young specimen has started to turn and has indeed a smell of burnt caramel when the dry leaves are crushed. It is planted on the middle terraces below the house.
Also worth visiting are the the magnificent 200+ year old (planted in around 1810) Horse chestnuts which can be found along the old carriage drive leading up to the house, some of the largest specimens that I have ever seen.