Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc.), an ornamental tree native to Japan and China, is valued for its broad pyramidal form and apricot-yellow fall leaf color. Another species, Cercidiphyllum magnificum (Nakai) Nakai, exists, but is rarely encountered outside of wild populations, except in a pendulous form. Propagation of katsura is by seed germination and softwood cuttings, although little information exists in the scientific literature regarding either method of propagation. To determine conditions for optimal seed germination, we subjected C. japonicum seed to a factorial combination of moist stratification and exposure to light. Two seed lots were obtained from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard Univ., accessions 1150-67 and 882. Half of the seeds in each lot were moist stratified in petri dishes on filter paper for 8 days at 3.5°C. All seeds then were germinated at 25°C with either a daily photoperiod of 15 hr or complete darkness. Those samples not exposed to light were placed in a light-tight container. Germination was defined as the average percentage of seeds per treatment combination that showed the emergence of a radicle. Unstratified seeds germinated at 44.7% over both seed lots. Moist stratification increased germination to 92.0% and 56.7% for 1150-67 and 882, respectively. Light did not affect germination for either seed lot. Optimal seed germination conditions for C. magnificum will be determined in future studies. We have shown that moist stratification of katsura seeds improves germination and recommend this method as a means of promoting seed germination.