Cedrella sinensis

Cedrella sinensis

Cedrella sinensis- Chines Toon

Chinese Toon

Looking startling in spring  around the landscape are groups of pink leafed trees which give hard hits of colour. The trees are called Cedrella sinensis or Chinese Toon, a tree from China which can grow to 20 metres high. The interesting thing is that the pink leafed form we have here doesn’t occur in China, it is a sport which was found in Australia and has been called “Flamingo”. It doesn’t seem to grow so tall. The new leaves come out brilliant pink and gradually fade off to white when they abort, then the next new leaves come out in green. The young leaves are used by the Chinese for stir fry cooking and used in egg dishes using the natural green leafed form and the pink leafed form is just as good. Pick a young leaf and chew on it, but only if you like peanut butter and garlic flavours, as the flavour is quite strong, oily and persistent.

The small white flowers, which occur in clusters, are scented.

A habit of the plant which some people don’t appreciate is that it tends to sucker and form a clump. If you wish to plant one, plant it where its suckers can be cut off when mowing or where it doesn’t matter if a clump develops.

The timber of the Cedrela species is much esteemed for joinery, looking a little like Mahogany and sometimes the timber is scented.

Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil types. The pink form can only be propagated by division or cuttings, the green form also by seed.