Phellodendron amurense – Amur Cork Tree (SE Asia, eastern Asia)
Habit: Medium-size tree, 10-12 m tall and wide, wider than tall when old, short stem, picturesque umbrella or funnel-shaped crown; only initially fast-growing, later shoots around 30-40 cm a year.
Flowers: Greenish-yellow panicles, after leaves shoot in June.
Fruits: Round, berry-like, fleshy, black stone fruits; very strong smell of turpentine; unpalatable.
Leaves: Pinnate, up to 20-40 cm long, dark green; bright light yellow in autumn, falling early in September; aromatic.
Stem: Conspicuously light grey with strips of cork.
Roots: Flat and far-reaching, lifting pavements.
Demands: Sun to light shade; tolerates heat, likes warmth, usually frost hardy, resistant to urban pollution, tolerates soil and air pollution.
Soil: Moderately dry or fresh to moist; acidic to alkaline; prefers well drained, sandy-loamy substrates, not growing well in heavy soil.
Native habitat: In the mountainous regions of eastern Siberia, northern China and northern Japan, the cork tree accompanies species of Abies, Larix, Picea and Pinus as well as Taxus cuspidata. Other well-known plants around it are Acer ginnala, Cornus alba, Euonymus alatus, Ilex rugosa (a parent of Ilex x meserveae), Philadelphus, Syringa and Viburnum plicatum tomentosum. Perennials such as Aconitum, Clematis (semi-shrub), Hemerocallis, Paeonia, Platycodon and species of Veronica are especially luxurious in the light shade of the cork shade.
Hardiness: Zone 5b