Most garden plants aren’t poisonous, but you should still exercise caution.

Are Weeping Katsura Trees Poisonous?

by Sarah Moore

Although weeping katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Pendula”) is not known to be poisonous, it is a good idea to exercise caution with any plant in your garden, especially where young children and pets are concerned. Working outside is a wonderful way to have some family together time, but you should always monitor your animals and children to ensure that they don’t contact plants that may be harmful to them.

1. Identification

Weeping katsura is winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4b through 8. It is a quick grower when it is young, slowing down and filling out to a round, weeping form with several trunks as it ages. Its moderately dense crown provides some shade, but it is best as a specimen tree for year-round color in the landscape. It suffers from no serious pests or diseases.

2. Allergic Reactions in People

Although weeping katsura is not known to be poisonous, neither is it an edible plant. Because of this, you should avoid eating it and take special care to keep it away from small children. Explain to older children that garden plants are for looking at, not for eating, and that you will tell them specifically which plants they can eat. Almost anything can be an allergen, so if you see signs of an allergic reaction -- rash, stomach cramping, difficulty breathing or swallowing, diarrhea or vomiting, palpitations, swelling or seizures -- take that person to the emergency room or call 911.

3. Allergic Reactions in Animals

Animals can also have allergic reactions to plants, even if those plants are not specifically stated as dangerous to them. While katsura is not a known allergen to animals, you should try to discourage dogs or cats or other pets from eating anything in the garden. Signs of allergic reaction in animals include drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, rashes, diarrhea, depression, listlessness, changes in urine color and tremors. If you see any of these signs, call a vet immediately; when you wait to monitor symptoms, it can sometimes be too late.

4. Culture and Uses

Because weeping katsura isn’t poisonous, you can feel safe using it in many areas of the garden. It is a tolerant tree that does best in full sunlight with consistently moist soil, but it becomes more drought-tolerant with age and will also put up with partial shade. It has good seasonal appeal, with new foliage emerging reddish and turning to pale and then darker green in summer, and eventually to yellowish red by fall. It also bears persistent winter fruits.

Photo Credits

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