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3. Amentotaxus Pilger, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 54: 41. 1916.

穗花杉属 sui hua shan shu

Shrubs or small trees dioecious; branchlets opposite, base with bud scales not persistent; winter buds tetragonal-ovate, acute, glossy, scales, decussate, in 3-5 whorles of 4, ridged adaxially. Leaves decussate, but brought into a single plane by twisting of petioles; blade straight or slightly falcate, usually more than 5 mm wide, adaxial surface mottled when fresh, rarely smooth, rugose or ± so when dry, resin canal present below sheath of vascular bundle, sclereids present, rarely absent, base decurrent, margin slightly downcurved. Pollen cones aggregated into (1 or)2-6(-10) long, slender, compound racemes or spikes arising from bract axil near apex of branches; individual cones opposite, sessile or subsessile, ellipsoid or subglobose; microsporophylls numerous, ± shield-shaped; pollen sacs 3-8, arranged radially, or adaxially and abaxially. Seed-bearing structures compressed-tetragonal or flattened abaxially, basal part with 6-10 pairs of decussate bracts arranged in 4 rows each of 3-5 bracts; ovule 1, sessile, erect. Seed ripening in 1st year, long pedunculate, ellipsoid or obovoid-ellipsoid, enclosed except for apex in a saclike aril which is bright red or reddish yellow when ripe; bracts persistent at base.

Five or six species: China, Vietnam; three species (one endemic) in China.

Amentotaxus has been placed in its own tribe (Amentotaxeae W. C. Cheng & C. D. Chu) or family, Amentotaxaceae. Although Page (in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 1: 299-302. 1990) included it in the Cephalotaxaceae, molecular data indicate very strongly that it is the sister genus of Torreya, which is similar in the size and shape of its seed and in usually having bilaterally symmetric clusters of pollen sacs.

Amentotaxus assamica D. K. Ferguson (Kew Bull. 40: 115. 1985) was described from SE Xizang, in temperate rainforests on steep, north-facing slopes, associated with species of Magnolia, Quercus, Rhododendron, etc. It is apparently similar to A. argotaenia, but differs in having leaves without sclereids, the adaxial surface smooth or with only longitudinal striations (due to shrinkage) when dry. Further collections are needed to establish whether it is truly distinct from A. argotaenia.

1 Stomatal bands on abaxial leaf surface 2/3 to 1.5 × as wide as green marginal bands   3 Amentotaxus argotaenia
+ Stomatal bands on abaxial leaf surface 2 × as wide as green marginal bands.   (2)
2 (1) Leaves linear, linear-lanceolate, or linear-elliptic, 8-15 mm wide, usually straight, apex tapered or obtuse, abaxial stomatal bands pale brown or pale yellowish white; pollen cone racemes 4 or more, 10-15 cm; seed ellipsoid, 2.2-3 cm   1 Amentotaxus yunnanensis
+ Leaves lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 5-10 mm wide, usually slightly falcate, tapered distally, apex long acuminate, stomatal bands white; pollen cone racemes usually 2-4, less than 5 cm; seed usually obovoid-ellipsoid, 2-2.5 cm   2 Amentotaxus formosana

Lower Taxa


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