Mouth-watering: leaves from the burnt sugar tree
Just a brief post today, to show you some exquisite leaves which I gathered on a walk yesterday. We have a few trees of Japanese origin here in the castle grounds. One of these varieties is the Katsura or Cercidiphyllum japonicum. Since I never remember either its Japanese name or its Latin binomial, however, I simply call it the pudding tree; as at this time of year it smells deliciously of burnt sugar. This is a tree to make your mouth water.
Not only does it smell wonderful in the autumn, it looks delicious too. The heart-shaped leaves turn all shades of juicy pink, yellow, orange and red before they fall. At the moment, our two Katsuras have the full spectrum of their shades on display. One has a bright rainbow of colour; the other has a sweet selection of delicate pinks. (A tree covered in pink hearts: perhaps I should call it the Valentines’ tree?)
On the tree itself, I think I preferred the delicacy of the pinks, glowing prettily in the mild sunshine. Having brought a selection home, however, I find it is the rainbow which really catches the attention. I can’t think of any other tree here which displays such a wide spectrum of autumn colour.
If you were wondering, by the way, the page on which I photographed the leaves is taken from one of two books on Japan which were acquired by my husband’s great-grandmother over a hundred years ago. They are each a mixture of travel journal, visitors’ guide and artist’s sketchbook, reflecting the fascination of the West at that time for the barely-known culture and horticulture of the land of the rising sun. Now, of course, they are fascinating and beautiful period pieces in their own right – if a little the worse for wear.
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