Cryptomeria japonica 'Rasen' / Rasen Japanese cedar

Note that this cultivar is often seen listed as C. japonica 'Rasen-sugi.' This is also how it is listed in the RHS database. The use of the term "sugi" is considered redundant in Cryptomeria cultivar names, as it is simply the Japanese term for "cedar."

Cryptomeria japonica 'Rasen' is a very fast-growing fastigiate, openly branched tree-form or Japanese cedar. Its foliage is twisted with pendant branchlets and densely spiraled needles that almost appear to be coiled around the stems. The foliage is similar to the cultivars, 'Spiralis' and 'Spiraliter Falcata' but the overall structure of the tree makes it distinct. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 20 to 28 inches (50 - 70 cm) per year, resulting is a botanical curiosity 15 to 20 feet (5 - 7 m) tall by 3 to 6 feet (1 - 2 m) wide after 10 years in the landscape.

This is an older cultivar of unknown origin that originated in Japan and has been in cultivation since the 1970s. The name "rasen" refers to the Japanese word for barber pole.

Attribution from: Aris Auders and Derek Spicer; RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers; ©2012 Kingsblue Publishing

Cryptomeria japonica 'Rasen' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Tom Cox
Cryptomeria japonica 'Rasen' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Tom Cox


Neil Jacobson

please advise on deer resistance

Maxwell Cohn

we can't. The voracity of a deer's appetite depends on local conditions. If there's little food in their surroundings, anything green is fair game. Cryptomeria are not toxic and are green, so they're fair game.