Taiwania cryptomerioides Hayata

Taiwania cryptomerioides Hayata, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 37: 330 (1906).

Taiwania cryptomerioides
(Taiwania cryptomerioides Hayata; Photo crescentcreek.ca)
Latin Name: Taiwania cryptomerioides Hayata
Family: Cupressaceae
Synonym Name: Eotaiwania fushunensis Y.Yendo; Taiwania cryptomerioides var. flousiana (Gaussen) Silba; Taiwania flousiana Gaussen; Taiwania fushunensis (Y.Yendo) Koidz.; Taiwania yunnanensis Koidz.
Vernacular name: Bách tán Đài loan
A large sized tree, up to 40m high and 1.2m in diameter. Crown broadly pyramidal or with few large horizontal branches and pendulous branchlets in upper part. Bark brown-red , vertically fissured or irregularly flaking, thick on mature trees. Leaves have two types : mature leaves small, almost scale-shaped, up to 8mm long, densely arranged, stomata on all sides; young leaves up to 1.5cm long, tip acute, often bluish- green. Female cones terminal, single or in clusters, cylindrical or ellipsoid, up to 2.5cm long and 1cm wide with 10-30 leathery scales. Male cones in clusters. Seed oblong- ovate up to 7mm long, winged.
Distribution and ecology:
This ancient coniferous species distributed from NE Myanmar to Southern China (Yunnan) and Taiwan, where trees may reach 75m high and 4m in diameter and a possible age of 1500 years. It was discovered in 2001 at Van Ban district, Lao Cai province – Vietnam, in a single small population; on the altitude of 1800-2100m asl., on granite derivered soils, suitable monsoon tropical climate associated with mountains, mean annual temperature 13-18oC, rainfall above 2000mm. Often mixed with Fokienia hodginsii. Natural regeneration episodic, limited by frequent forest- fires.
This species has good potential as a plantation tree. It widely used in China for afforestation, produces very high quality timber for construction, furnitures and coffins. Trees are also planted for ornamenting and known to contain compounds with anti-cancer and insecticidal properties.
It is a very rare and thretaned coniferous species in Vietnam, listed in Vietnam Red Data Book as a critical plant species (CR). Need to be strictly protected in nature and carried out Ex situ conservation measures. So need be strictly protected in PAs : Bach Ma, Ngoc Linh, Bidoup - Nui Ba etc.

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