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Taxus

Description from Flora of China

Trees or shrubs evergreen, dioecious; branchlets irregularly alternate, basal part with few or several persistent or early deciduous bud scales; winter bud scales overlapping, with prominent or indistinct, longitudinal adaxial ridges. Leaves 2-ranked, spirally arranged, sessile, or shortly petiolate in Taxus cuspidata, linear, straight or falcate, decurrent, adaxial surface with raised midvein, abaxial surface with 2 pale gray, grayish blue, or pale yellow stomatal bands, resin canal absent. Reproductive structures axillary, solitary. Pollen cones pedicellate, globose, with overlapping bracts at base; microsporophylls 6-14, shield-shaped, each with 4-9 radially arranged pollen sacs. Seed-bearing structures subsessile, with several overlapping bracts, 2 or 3 distal pairs of which are decussate. Aril red or orange when ripe, succulent. Seed nutlike, ripening in 1st year, enclosed within cupular aril but with apex exposed; hilum prominent. Cotyledons 2. Germination epigeal. 2n = 24.

About nine species: mainly N hemisphere; three species in China.

Taxus sumatrana (Miquel) de Laubenfels (T. celebica (Warburg) H. L. Li), from Indonesia (Sulawesi and Sumatra) and the Philippines, has been recorded from China (e.g., Fl. Taiwan, ed. 2). Such records are based on a broad concept of that species, including the taxa treated in this account as T. wallichiana var. chinensis and T. wallichiana var. mairei (but excluding the type of T. wallichiana). The total number of distinct species of Taxus occurring in Asia is quite controversial and in need of further study.

The papillae and other characters of the abaxial leaf surface are best observed in fresh, young leaves. The papillae are minute and are best seen using a microscope or a lens of × 25 magnification or greater.

Lower Taxon


 

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