The large-leaf katsura grows naturally only in the central mountains of Honshu, Japan’s main island. The leaves are bronze-coloured when they open, bigger than those of the small-leaf katsura (C. japonicum), with a heart-shaped base. In autumn they turn wonderful shades of pink, violet and yellow and fill the air with the scent of burnt sugar when they fall.
In Finland this species has done well on the south coast, where it develops into a small, slender-branched tree. When young, the crown is conical but takes on a rounder shape with age. It needs a rich, light acidic soil which retains some moisture, and the protection of other trees from spring frosts.
At Mustila, there is a single individual tree growing at the west end of Etelärinne (Southern Slope), and some younger plantings along the stream in Tuijalaakso (White Cedar Valley). Seeds were received at Mustila in 2003 from the Komarov Institute in St. Petersburg and in 2008 from Milde Arboretum in Bergen, Norway. The excellent trees at Milde were grown from seed collected at about 2000m asl in the Japanese mountains by the combined Scandinavian collecting expedition of 1976. The resulting plants seem to be thriving in Finland, too.