Cryptomeria japonica 'Birodo' / Birodo Japanese cedar

This cultivar is often seen listed as 'Birodo-sugi' in the nursery trade.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Birodo' is a slow-growing, compact dense mounding selection of Japanese cedar with short green needles that turn bronzy purple in winter. creating seasonal interest for the small garden or rockery.

The following plant description is courtesy of Iseli nursery inc., Boring, Oregon —
Short, erect, green needles like points of a star, cover the tight branches of this slow-growing, dense mound. As cold weather sets in, the foliage gradually changes to a rich, bronzy purple for the winter. Tough, trouble free and resistant to grazing animals, 'Birodo' will maintain a tight formal habit without shearing. Provide moist, well-drained soil and protect from desiccating winter winds.
Typical rate of growth in most areas is around 1 inch (2.5 cm) a year, resulting in a uniform globe, 10 inches (25 cm) tall and wide after 10 years in the garden.

This is an old cultivar which certainly originated long ago in Japan, brought to Europe, then distributed westward. Humphrey Welch in The Conifer Manual ©1991 suggests that 'Birodo' may be synonymous with C. japonica 'Compressa' and 'Nana.' Gardeners who are curious about this suggestion are recommended to plant the trio in close proximity to observe their growth and performance in the garden over the long term, thus drawing their own conclusion.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Birodo' at Cox Arboretum, Canton, Georgia.
Photo by Tom Cox