Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans'
Common name: 
Plume Cedar
Plume Cryptomeria
krip-tow-ME-ri-a ja-PON-i-ka
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen shrub/tree, 8(30) ft [2.5(9) m], juvenile form, bushy.  Unlike the species!!   Soft feathery juvenile leaves (needles), 12-25 mm long, is green in summer but turns a rich brownish red in winter (especially in exposed sites).  Sometime coneless and cones smaller than those of species.
  • Best when given space to show it off.  Subject to damage by wet snow
  • Other cultivars which are or may be related to ‘Elegans’ include:
    • ‘Elegans Aurea’  -  apparently similar to ‘Elegans’ but with light green (some say green) foliage in summer, turns yellowish rather than reddish brown in cold winters.
    • ‘Elegans Compacta’  -  a dwarf form which turns purplish, some say brownish, in winter.  Reasonably fast growing, some authorities list it as growing 3-6 ft high, others say as much as 20 ft in 10 years.  A sport of ‘Elegans’ and in commerce in England since 1881.
    • ‘Elegans Nana’  -  some equate this to ‘Elegans Compacta’, however Hillier states that it is a very dense, slow growing shrub which "bronzes" in winter.  It differs from ‘Elegans Compacta’ by having a tighter habit, straight leaves and fairy stiff to the touch.  Apparently in commerce since 1923.
    • ‘Elegans Variegata’  -  a slow growing shrub, needles heavily variegated with white, cultivated before 1887 (Krüssmann, 1985) but now rare in commerce.
    • ‘Elegans Viridis’  -  does not turn brown in winter, "light fresh green even in February" and there is likely confusion with ‘Elegans Aurea’ (Jacobson, 1996).
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: in front of the Seed Lab on Campus Way, between 30th St. and 35th St.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • plant habit, summer and winter

    plant habit, summer and winter

  • needles


  • needles, comparison

    needles, comparison

  • branches, winter

    branches, winter

  • needles, winter

    needles, winter

  • male cones, late winter

    male cones, late winter

  • cones and needles

    cones and needles