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Phellodendron sachalinense - Sakhalin cork tree

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The Sakhalin cork tree grows on Sakhalin Island and in northern Japan and is often considered a geographical variety, Phellodendron amurense var. sachalinense, of the Amur cork. The differences are very slight: the Sakhalin tree has a thinner layer of cork, larger leaves and rounder leaflets, the young branches are red-brown and buds hairless. It is the strongest growing of the genus and seems the hardiest, though experience in Finland is so far limited.

When young, cork trees are frost tender, often dying back to snow level in their early years, but gradually their growth rhythm adjusts and they become hardier. The Sakhalin cork tree is native to areas whose climate is less continental than that of the Amur tree’s range, so it is probably better suited to Finland’s semi-maritime climate.

The broad picturesque habit and rich foliage make the cork trees among the most attractive landscape species in Finland. They have many excellent qualities, among them the early autumn colours with heavy clusters of black berries.