Characteristics of Taiwania Tree (Taiwania cryptomerioides) in the Wild

Taiwania cryptomerioides
Taiwania (Taiwania cryptomerioides) is a species of large coniferous tree in the Cupressaceae family. The genus was previously placed in a separate family Taxodiaceae, now belongs to the monotypic subfamily Taiwanioideae of the family Cupressaceae.

This tree is native to eastern Asia, growing in the mountains of central Taiwan, southwest China, Myanmar, and northern Vietnam. This tree is sometimes referred to by the different scientific name Taiwania flousiana, by some botanists.

Since 2010, the IUCN Redlist has categorized Taiwania cryptomerioides as a threatened specimen with Vulnerable (VU) status. Due to illegal logging for its valuable timber in many areas. It is thought to have had a wider range in the past before extensive logging.

This genus is named Taiwania because it was first discovered and described by the botanical community in 1910. While Cryptomerioides has the meaning “resembling Cryptomeria“.

 

Characteristics of Taiwania Leaf

Taiwania cryptomerioides Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/tsaumui

The leaves are needle-like, 8-15 mm long on young trees up to about 100 years old, then gradually become shorter and scale-like, about 3-7 mm long, on mature trees or those over 100 years old.

 

Characteristics of Taiwania Fruit

Taiwania cryptomerioides Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/kunde

Cones are small, about 15-25 mm long, with thin scales about 15-30 thin, each chamber containing two seeds.

 

Characteristics of Taiwania Tree

Taiwania cryptomerioides Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/anniewang303

Taiwania is one of the largest tree species in Asia, reaching a maximum height in the wild of up to 90 meters and a trunk diameter of up to 4 meters. The tree grows best in moist, rich, acidic, well-drained soil in full sun.

The wood is soft, durable, has a pungent aroma, and was in great demand in the past, especially for building temples and coffins. The rarity of the Taiwania tree and its slow growth makes it even more difficult to propagate. In China and Taiwan, this Taiwania tree has legal protection.

 

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