Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco

Bookleaf Cypress

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.

Generally grown as ornamental cultivars, some with foliage very different from the species.

N &W China.

Foliage in vertical sprays (although cultivars of T. occidentalis also have vertical sprays occasionally); cones flask-shaped, waxy white with hooked scales; seed wingless.

SA: Penola (Yallum Park). NSW: Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds). ACT: Westbourne Woods. VIC: Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, Western Lawn); Castlemaine (Bot. Gds); Geelong (Eastern Park).






MEDIUM 'Blue Cone' Upright, ovoid, foliage bluish purple in winter. Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California, USA. This may be the correct name for a cultivar referred to as 'Green Cone' said to originate from Cedar Lodge Nsy, New Plymouth, NZ, c. 1985.

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.

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Distribution map

Platycladus orientalis 'Aurea Nana'

Dwarf, dense, round, foliage yellowish green. Several variants raised in USA.

Platycladus orientalis 'Beverleyensis'

Conical or columnar with yellow tips to the foliage esp. in summer. Raised in California, USA in 1917.

Platycladus orientalis 'Cedar Lodge'

Dark green, dense, developing into a narrow column. Grows c. 2.5 m in 10 years. Seedling selection made by Ron Radford, Cedar Lodge Nsy, Sulphur Creek, Tasmania and introduced 1973.

Platycladus orientalis 'Collen'

S Gold' Narrow upright habit with golden yellow foliage. Listed in uk since 1983 but origin unknown.

Platycladus orientalis 'Elegantissima'

Broadly columnar, sprays fan-like, golden yellow in spring. Raised Rollisson, Tooting, England in 1858.

Platycladus orientalis 'Fastigiata'

A narrow form with upright branches. Origin Ireland. Vic: Dandenongs ('Pirianda'); Maryborough (Phillips Garden).

Platycladus orientalis 'Filiformis Erecta'

Dwarf, roundish, upright, with thread-like foliage. New growth bright yellow in spring only. Raised in Belgium from seed of 'Flagelliformis'.

Platycladus orientalis 'Fleck'

White variegated sport of 'Aurea nana'. Grows to about 65 cm tall in 10 years. Selected at Ferny Creek, Victoria, Australia.

Platycladus orientalis 'Greenangold'

Habit narrow, columnar with cones and foliage mixed green and gold. Introduced to Australia by John Emery c. 1989 but possibly originating in New Zealand.

Platycladus orientalis 'Hillieri'

Dwarf, slow-growing, compact, new growth yellow. Raised Hillier &Son, Winchester, England before 1929.

Platycladus orientalis 'Juniperoides'

Dense, round, leaves needle-like, stiff in opposite pairs, grey-green to greyish purple in winter. Introduced to Europe from Japan c.1850.

Platycladus orientalis 'Lucas'

Like ' Elegantissima', narrowly conical with bright gold colourings and larger foliage than 'Beverleyensis'. Found as a seedling by Frank Lucas, Victoria, Australia and introduced c. 1980.

Platycladus orientalis 'Meldensis'

Round to broadly columnar, small, leaves mostly needle-like, stiff, grey-green, sometimes becoming brown in winter. Raised by Cauchois, nurseryman of Meaux, France in 1852.

Platycladus orientalis 'Minima'

Dwarf, dense, round, leaves needle-like and scale-like, yellowish in spring, otherwise green. 'Mimima Glauca' is probably identical to this cultivar. Origin uk in nineteenth century.

Platycladus orientalis 'Morgan'

('Morganii') Smaller, more globose form of 'Aurea Nana'. Foliage yellow-gold, semi-juvenile. Sport of 'Aurea Nana' found by Malcolm Morgan, an Australian nurseryman and introduced c. 1980.

Platycladus orientalis 'Nana'

This probably represents a whole range of cultivars and is useful only as a Group name.

Platycladus orientalis 'Raffles'

Dwarf version of 'Aurea Nana' with more irregular foliage and winter colour. Australian attribution in literature but this probably incorrect. Origin unknown.

Platycladus orientalis 'Rosedalis'

Dwarf, leaves soft, needle-like, new growth yellow becoming pale green in summer and purplish in winter. Slightly similar to 'Meldensis' but distinguished by the colour changes and softer leaves. Origin unknown. Vic: Mt Beauty (2 exceptional specimens outside Department cnr Office).

Platycladus orientalis 'Sanderi'

Low, round shrub with pronounced juvenile foliage greenish blue in summer, reddish purple in winter. Origin Japan.

Platycladus orientalis 'Semperaurea'

Medium size, branches upright, branchlets yellow at the tips, especially in spring and early summer. Raised v. Lemoine, nurseryman, Nancy, France.

Platycladus orientalis 'Shirl'

S Supreme' Narrow-columnar symmetrical shrub with golden foliage, slow-growing. Grows 3 m in 10 years. Sport from 'Beverleyensis' but with finer foliage. Introduced by Andrews Nursery, Sydney, Australia.

Platycladus orientalis 'Sieboldii'

A large bush with creamy new growth becoming green. Introduced to Leiden from Japan in nineteenth century.

Platycladus orientalis 'Westmont'

Upright, conical, lemon in spring, gold in winter especially at the tips. Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California, 1979.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Cupressaceae
genus       Platycladus Spach