Euscaphis japonica
Common Name: euscaphis 
Type: Tree
Family: Staphyleaceae
Native Range: China, Japan
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellow-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-8. Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, sandy or medium loams in full sun to part shade. Tolerates brief periods of drought, but best performance is in soils with consistent and even moisture. Avoid hot and dry summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euscaphis japonica, commonly called Korean sweetheart tree, is a small deciduous tree or large shrub that is native to mountain valleys, open forests and thickets in China, Korea and Japan. It typically matures to 12-20’ tall (occasionally to as much as 30’) over time with a spread to 8-10’ wide. This tree is the only species in the genus Euscaphis of the bladdernut family. Key features include: (a) opposite, compound pinnate leaves (6-10” long), each leaf having 7-11 leathery, finely toothed, glossy, slender-pointed, ovate-lanceolate, dark green leaflets (to 2-4” long), (b) reddish-purple to purplish-brown bark with white striations, (c) non-showy yellowish-white flowers (each to 1/4” diameter) which bloom in spring (May-June) in terminal panicles to 9” long, (d) abundant heart-shaped capsules that ripen in September-October to a bright cherry red before splitting open to reveal shiny dark blue-black seeds, and (d) mahogany-purple fall color.

J. C. Raulston discovered Korean sweetheart tree in 1985 on the Korean Peninsula while participating in a U.S. National Arboretum collection expedition. He brought seeds back to the North Carolina State Arboretum for assessment and evaluation.

Genus name comes from the Greek words eu meaning good and scaphis meaning a vessel for the character of the seed pod.

Specific epithet means from Japan.

Common name is in reference to the heart-shaped seed pods of this tree.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Interesting landscape specimen. Sunny woodland garden margins. Dappled shade.