Thuja aphylla Linn.
Trees or tall shrub, up to c. 13 m tall with reddish brown to grey bark, entirely glabrous. Leaves vaginate, abruptly mucronate 1.5-2 (-3) mm long, hoary due to the salt deposition from the impressed punctate glands. Racemes mostly aestival, simple or compound, 2-6 cm long, (2-) 34 (-5) mm broad, spirally curved. Flowers bisexual, subsessile, pinkish white, pedicel less than 1 mm long. Bracts vaginate, ovate, acuminate, 1.25-1.5 mm long, 0.5 mm broad. Sepals 5, free, 1.5 mm long, c. 1 mm broad, almost entire, obtuse, broadly ovate to elliptic, outer 2 somewhat smaller than the inner 3. Petals 5, filaments filiform, 2 mm long, anthers cordate, somewhat apiculate. Disc deeply 5 lobed, filaments inserted in between the lobes of the disc (mesodiscine), insertion peridiscal. Stigmas 3 or 4, discoid, styles half the length of the ovary, ovary conical, 1.75-2 mm long. Capsule pyramidal, rounded at the tip, 2.5-3.5 mm long, c. 1.5 mm broad.
Fl. Per.: June-October
Holotype: Egypt, Herb. Linn 1136/3 (LINN).
Distribution: Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Senegal, Sudan, Abyssinia, Eriterea, Somaliland, Kenya), Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran) Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
This is our largest and commonest species, often planted as roadside tree. The bark and irregularly rounded galls (Sakun hi Sindhi) are used for tanning.