Platycladus Spach

Bookleaf Cypress

Greek mikros - small, Biota - a former name for Thuja.

Slow-growing conical to ovoid shrubs or small trees with a flame-like appearance when young. Bark fibrous. Foliage in flat, vertical sprays. Leaves about 2 mm long, facial pairs slightly smaller than the laterals. Male cones about 2 mm long, blackish, hardly wider than the branchlets, Oct. Female cones to 2 cm long, ovoid or flask-shaped, fleshy and waxy white while ripening, bluish-brown when mature; scales 6-8, hooked, the lower fertile ones bearing 2-3 wingless seeds, each about 3 mm long.

A genus of one species, formerly included in Thuja as T. orientalis, the only Asian species of that genus and distinguished by the characters listed below.

1 species from N & W China.

More or less vertically arranged foliage sprays with edges directed inwards (hence the common name); leaves hardly aromatic when crushed, in contrast to Thuja which hase all strongly aromatic; cones fleshy at first, flask-shaped, waxy-white, the scales with pronounced hooks at their tips. Each of the fertile scales has 2 or occasionally 3 large, wingless seeds.

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Cupressaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Cupressaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species        Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco