Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' / black dragon Japanese cedar

Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' gets its name from its dark green needles that, in shade, almost look black. It has a dense, irregular pyramidal shape that, to some onlookers, after a some warm saki, might resemble a rearing dragon.

New growth in spring is light green, typical of the species, but quickly darkens up by midsummer. When its growth habit leaves openings to the trunk you'll see orange-ish brown exfoliating bark. It doesn't like strong winds (hot or cold) so it needs some protection but be sure to give it adequate air circulation to prevent prolonged wet needles which lead to fungal disease.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 6 feet (2 m) tall and 3 feet (1 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 cm).

This cultivar originated as a seedling selecting in the mid-1980s by Iseli Nursery, Boring, Oregon, USA. Time has proven 'Black Dragon' to be one of the most popular dwarf conifers in the trade. At this link is Iseli nursery's description of this conifer with more pictures.

Black Dragon Japanese cedar photographed in Brunswick, Maine in 2013.
Photo by Sean Callahan
Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Sean Callahan
Pollen cones of Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon' in the Gardens of the Big Bend, Quincy, Florida.
Photo by Janice LeCocq
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon' in the Gardens of the Big Bend, Quincy, Florida.
Photo by Janice LeCocq

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