The origin of Maruba-no-ki comes from a tree species of an ancient Tertiary (64.3 to 2.6 million years ago) lineage and is a relict from the last glacial period (70 to 10 thousand years ago).   Formerly, it was widely distributed to Japan but deforestation has advanced from Nara Period (710-794).   Therefore, now it grows only at limited places.   It is designated as a threatened species in Kochi (Endangered), Okayama (Vulnerable) and Mie (Critically Endangered) Prefectures and as a near threatened in Hiroshima Prefecture.
The leaf is cordate*, fresh green in spring and beautiful red in autumn.   Maruba-no-ki grows to two to four meters in height.
The flowering season is from October to November.   Quite unlike other deciduous trees, it produces the flower simultaneously with turning autumn colors before defoliating and entering resting period.   It produces flowers during the absence of competitors and develops its fruits and seeds during Spring.   The flowering way is also unique as two tiny flowers uniquely bloom back to back.   The flower is dark reddish-purple, hermaphrodite and one cm in diameter.   The flower has five petals, five stamens, and one pistil, which is divided into two parts.
The flower is red and resembles Mansaku (Japanese witch hazel).   Therefore, it is sometimes called also Beni-mansaku.   Ono Nature Observation Forest in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture had the colony of Maruba-no-ki, which is designated as a protected colony of Hiroshima in 1937.

* heart-shaped
Classification: Hamamelidaceae Disanthus
Scientific name: Disanthus cercidifolius Maxim.
Japanese name: Maruba-no-ki
English Name: ---
Native locality: ---
Ecological description: Low deciduous tree
RDB : ---
Planting place: Suginoki-dani (Cedar Trees Valley)
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