"At one time, long ago, the wild katsura trees were much more widespread. Fossil records show that these trees grew in Europe and even western North America during the Miocene Ephoch (5-23 million years ago). However, during the Pleistocene epoch, it vanished everywhere except in Asia (about the time humankind started developing agriculture in the “Fertile Crescent” in the Middle East)." 
"The katsura tree is native to Eastern China, mainly Japan, China, and Korea. Particularly in Japan, the tree is imbedded in folklore - some legends say that the shadow areas on the moon are the silhouette of a magic katsura tree that cannot be cut down. The tree is also linked in name with the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, whose Palace Garden contains many katsura trees, as well as a viewing platform where you can watch the moon rise. These days, the species is listed as Endangered in Asia (though classified as being Lower Risk). " 
"The timber of the katsura tree is renowned in Japan. The wood is light, soft, not strong, and fine grained; it’s popularly used in cabinetry, paneling, and furniture. In the US, it’s become a popular tree to plant along streets and in residential parks and gardens, due to its hardy, pest-resistant qualities and its ornamental value."