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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 4 | Taxodiaceae | Metasequoia

1. Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & W. C. Cheng, Bull. Fan Mem. Inst. Biol., n.s. 1: 154. 1948.

水杉 shui shan

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
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Metasequoia glyptostroboides var. caespitosa Y. H. Long & Y. Wu; Sequoia glyptostroboides (Hu & W. C. Cheng) Weide.

Trees to 50 m tall; trunk buttressed at base, to 2.5 m d.b.h.; bark of young trees pale orange-brown with darker flakes and exfoliating, finally dark reddish brown to gray, fissured; crown narrowly conical or pyramidal, finally broadly conical; branches ascending; branchlets pendulous, axis pinkish green or pale purple in 1st year, later brownish gray; winter buds to 5 × 3 mm, apex obtuse, scales yellowish brown, ca. 2-2.5 × 2-2.5 mm. Lateral branchlets deciduous, opposite, each subtended by leaflike scale, with longer and shorter leaves alternating irregularly, forming an ovate-elliptic outline 3-7 × 1.5-4 cm. Leaves borne at 45-60° to branchlet axis, 2-5 mm apart, bluish green or yellowish green adaxially, paler abaxially, turning orange or red in autumn, linear, 0.8-1.5 cm × 1.2-2 mm on old trees but longer on younger trees, stomatal hands 0.4-0.6 mm, indistinct, marginal bands 0.5-0.6 mm wide, apex obtuse or with hyaline mucro, more sharply acute on leaves of leader branchlets. Pollen cones ovoid, 2.5-5.5 × 2-3.8 mm; bracts triangular-ovate or obovate, ca. 4 × 3 mm, lowest minutely ciliate distally, others glabrous. Seed cones purplish black when young, oblong-ellipsoid and to 9 × 5.5 mm at pollination, subglobose and 1.4-2.5 × 1.6-2.3 cm when mature; basal cone scales 9-ovulate, middle 7-ovulate, distal 5-ovulate, apical sterile. Seeds ca. 5 × 4 mm. Pollination Feb-Mar, before leaves, seed maturity Oct-Nov.

* Riparian habitats on valley floors and in moist ravine bottoms, on acidic, montane yellow-earth soils in regions with moderate climate,

A rare species as a native plant because the valley floors are now largely under rice cultivation.

Also widely cultivated as an ornamental or planted for afforestation in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang.

Lectotypified by LIN Qi & CAO Ziyu. 2007. Acta Bot. Yunnan. 29(3): 291. 2007.


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  • MA, J.S. 2003. The chronology of the "living fossil" Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Taxodiaceae): a r
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