Cryptomeria is a monotypic genus of conifer in the cypress family Cupressaceae, formerly belonging to the family Taxodiaceae. It includes only one species, Cryptomeria japonica. It is considered to be endemic to Japan, where it is known as sugi.
Cryptomeria japonica, commonly called Japanese cedar or sugi, is a slender, pyramidal, evergreen conifer with tiered horizontal branching, which is slightly pendulous at the tips. Japanese cedar is a monotypic genus unrelated to the true cedars (Cedrus). It is native to forested areas in Japan and China where it typically grows as a single trunk tree to 150’ tall (infrequently taller) with an 8’ trunk diameter. It is the national tree of Japan where it is often planted at temples and shrines. In cultivation in the U.S., it grows much smaller, more typically to 50-60’ tall. Sharply-pointed, awl-shaped, fragrant, green to blue-green needles (to 3/4” long) are spirally arranged. Foliage is soft to the touch. Foliage may bronze in cold winters. Spherical fruiting cones (to 1” diameter) appear at the shoot ends. Reddish-brown bark exfoliates in strips. This is a prized timber tree in its native habitat.