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Jianhua Li, Michael S. Dosmann, Peter Del Tredici, and Susyn Andrews

Sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA were used to examine genetic divergence of the two species of katsura [Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc. and Cercidiphyllum magnificum (Nakai) Nakai] and four clones of weeping katsura (`Amazing Grace', `Tidal Wave', `Pendulum', and `Morioka Weeping'), and to characterize the affinity of these weeping katsura to both species. Our results indicate that C. japonicum and C. magnificum are genetically distinct, supporting the recognition of them as separate species. Based on our DNA sequence data and morphological evidence, all weeping selections are phylogenetically derived from C. japonicum, not C. magnificum; nor are they of a hybrid origin between C. japonicum and C. magnificum. We propose the new cultivar-group Cercidiphyllum japonicum Weeping Group to include all katsura clones of weeping or pendulous habit, and recognize the cultivar epithet `Morioka Weeping' and its application to the excurrent and upright clone obtained from Japan and distributed in North America by the Arnold Arboretum.

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Michael S. Dosmann, Jeffery K. Iles, and Mark P. Widrlechner

Germinability of two, half-sib seed sources of Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc. and one seed source of Cercidiphyllum magnificum (Nakai) Nakai was determined after not stratifying or stratifying seeds at 3.5 ± 0.5 °C (38.3 ± 0.9 °F) for 8 days followed by germination for 21 days at 25 °C (77 °F) in darkness or under a 15-hour photoperiod. Stratification was not required for germination, but increased germination percentage, peak value, and germination value for both species. Stratification increased germination of C. japonicum from 42% to 75%, and germination of C. magnificum from 12% to 24%. Light enhanced germination of nonstratified seeds of one source of C. japonicum and of C. magnificum from 34% to 52% and from 8% to 15%, respectively. Stratification improved germinability of both species and obviated any preexisting light requirements the seeds may have had.

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Michael Sean Dosmann and Jeffery K. Iles

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.