Sciadopityaceae, Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese umbrella pine, コウヤマキ) description

Conservation status

Sciadopitys verticillata

(Thunberg) Siebold et Zuccarini 1842

Frequent names

Umbrella pine, Japanese umbrella pine; KOYA-MAKI, コウヤマキ, 高野槙 [Japanese].

Taxonomic notes

The only species in Sciadopityaceae Luerss. 1877 and Sciadopitys Siebold & Zuccarini 1842. Basionym Taxus verticillata Thunberg 1784. Syn. Podocarpus verticillatus (Thunb.) Wall. ex Steud. 1841 (Farjon 1998).

The household was previously included as a genus inside Cupressaceae (Taxodiaceae), however current genetic research (e.g., Brunsfeld et al. 1994) have proven that it’s clearly not allied with that group. The household is elevated to the rank of Order by some authors; Sciadopityales Takht. ex Reveal 1993. Relationships stay unclear, however there’s some suggestion of a distant alliance to the Podocarpaceae, supported by wooden construction and cpDNA evaluation (Brunsfeld et al. 1994).


An evergreen tree to 20-30(35) m tall and as much as 1 m dbh, with dense, heavy branching and luxuriant foliage, single- or multi-stemmed. Bark thick tender red-brown, stringy. Shoots orange-brown, glabrous, dimorphic (lengthy or quick); buds ovoid, 3-Four mm, solely produced on the shoot apices. Leaves of two varieties, scale leaves on the stem, brown, 1-Three mm, extensively spaced between the nodes on lengthy shoots, and clustered in a good spiral pseudowhorl subtending the photosynthetic leaves on the apex of each lengthy and quick shoots. Photosynthetic leaves variously interpreted as a pair of true leaves fused collectively, or as extremely modified shoots (cladodes); linear, in pseudowhorls of 10-30 on the shoot nodes, 6-13 cm lengthy, 2-Three mm large, 1 mm thick, heavy, fleshy, pliable, with a distinguished mid-line groove on each side; wealthy shiny inexperienced with a pale stomatal line either side of the mid-line groove on the underside; persistent 3-Four years. Pollen cones 6-12 mm, in dense terminal clusters 1-2 cm throughout. Seed cones subsessile, ovoid, inexperienced ripening darkish brown in 18-20 months from pollination, 4.5-10 cm lengthy, 3.5-6.5 cm large when open; fragile and breaking apart quickly after seed launch. Fertile scales 15-40 per cone, skinny, flat to upcurved, 2-Three cm lengthy, 2-3.5 cm large, tough, matt, with a broad flap-like transverse bract lateral throughout a lot of the width of the dimensions at its widest level; apex rounded, irregularly waved. Seeds 5-9 per scale, orange-brown, 8-12 mm lengthy, flattened ovoid with a slim wing alongside either side of the seed and notched on the apex. Cotyledons 2. Chromosomes n = 10 (Dallimore et al. 1967, Rushforth 1987, Frankis 1988, C.N. Web page in Kubitzky 1990, Vidakovic 1991). Kinds a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (Maeda 1954, cited by Brundrett 2008).

Distribution and Ecology

Japan: S Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. Happens in blended center altitude cloud forest forest at 500-1000 m, with excessive rainfall and humidity (Dallimore et al. 1967, C.N. Web page in Kubitzky 1990).

Massive tree

A tree at Jinguji Temple, Koaza Himejitani Aza Ishikawa, City of Nodagawa, Kyoto Prefecture is 27 meters tall and has a girth of 4.1 meters. “A tree with origins obscured within the distant previous, historic information present that it has been worshipped domestically since 1310, when a monk from Ishiyamatera Temple (in Otsu-Metropolis), renovated this temple positioned within the Ishikawa area and named it Jinguji Temple. Legend says the principal Buddhist picture of the temple is a lady, which is why folks, attending the annual pageant, contact the Umbrella-Pine in hopes of being blessed with wholesome youngsters. The Umbrella-Pine of Junguji Temple has been designated as a pure monument (plant) of Kyoto Prefecture” (Kyoto Nature 2000).


See above (Massive Tree).



In Japan, the spicy-scented, waterproof wooden is very valued for making boats; its bark, within the type of oakum, is used for caulking (Britannica On-line).

It is likely one of the ‘5 timber of Kiso’ handled as sacred in Japan (Dallimore et al. 1967).

Sciadopitys makes a really enticing decorative, with luxuriant wealthy inexperienced foliage and orange-brown bark, however it requires excessive rainfall and heat, humid summers for good development (USDA hardiness zone 7). Additionally, like Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), it’s a good tree to develop as a ‘dialog piece’, with a historical past courting from the earliest days of the dinosaurs.


See above (Massive Tree). Most botanical gardens and arboreta in subtropical to temperate climates may have specimens.


Listed as weak. Regardless of the worth of its wooden, its gradual development has led to a decline in planting in Japanese forests in favour of faster-growing species like Cryptomeria japonica.

It’s an historical endemic with a extremely relictual vary; the prehistoric vary of the household was much more in depth throughout each Eurasia and North America, with fossils courting again to the higher Triassic. Among the many oldest of all extant conifers, and already in decline by the point different ‘historical’ conifers turned widespread within the decrease Cretaceous (C.N. Web page in Kubitzky 1990), it’s a true ‘dwelling fossil’.

The English title ‘umbrella pine’ refers back to the whorls of leaves resembling the spokes of an umbrella; the Latin Sciadopitys is a translation of this.

This species types old-growth forests with Chamaecyparis obtusa. Seedlings can regenerate beneath the forest cover, though small gaps with uncovered mineral soils represent most popular institution websites (Yamamoto 1988).


Brundrett, Mark. 2008. Mycorrhizal Associations: The Internet Useful resource. mycorrhizas.information, accessed 2009.06.09.

Frankis, M.P. Pers. obs. of cultivated timber in Britain, reported 1998.02.21.

Kyoto Nature: 200 Glimpses., accessed 2000.01.25, now defunct.

Maeda, M. 1954. The that means of mycorrhiza in regard to systematic botany. Kumamoto Journal of Science, Collection B 3: 57-84.

Yamamoto, S.I. 1988. Seedling recruitment of Chamaecyparis obtusa and Sciadopitys verticillata in numerous microenvironments in an old-growth Sciadopitys verticillata forest. Botanical Journal of Tokyo 101(1061):61-71.

Because of M.P. Frankis for getting ready the outline and far supplementary materials, 1999.02.

See additionally

Elwes and Henry 1906-1913 on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This collection of volumes, privately printed, offers a few of the most partaking descriptions of conifers ever printed. Though they solely deal with species cultivated within the U.Okay. and Eire, and the taxonomy is a bit dated, nonetheless these accounts are thorough, treating such matters as species description, vary, varieties, exceptionally outdated or tall specimens, exceptional timber, and cultivation. Regardless of being over a century outdated, they’re usually correct, and are illustrated with some exceptional pictures and lithographs.

Farjon (2005) offers an in depth account, with illustrations.

Fu, Yu and Farjon (1999).

Hayata B. 1931. The Sciadopityaceae represented by Sciadopitys verticillata Sieb. et Zucc. an endemic species of Japan. Botanical Journal of Tokyo 45: 567-569.

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