Mittwoch, 20. April 2011

Plant of the day (April, 20th, 2011) - Cryptomeria japonica (Thunb. ex. L. F.) D. Don

In my “Article of the week” from Sunday, I've introduced you to some interesting cones from different conifers. One of these plants was Cryptomerisa japonica (Thunb. ex. L. F.) D. Don. During the last days, I had the chance to visit the Botanical Garden of Solingen, a small town in Western Germany. It's a small garden, but it has some very fascinating species, that I will present you the next days in my “Plant of the Day” articles. The first one is C. japonica, a conifer, endemic to Japan. It's also known as “Sugi” in Japanese and as “Japanese Cedar” in English. The species belongs to the Cupressaceae family and is the only member of the genus Cryptomeria.

C. japonica (Thunb. ex. L. F.) D. Don . - Habitus

As you can see, it's a very tall tree (until 40 m or 131,2 ft.). It's evergreen and has long bended needles, which are sitting at long, hanging branches. 

C. japonica (Thunb. ex. L. F.) D. Don . -branches

The light brown cones, here you can see a picture of someone at a tree, are small and spherical. They are sitting at a long upright stalk. The most characteristic feature are the sharp thorns at the back of each seed scale.

C. japonica (Thunb. ex. L. F.) D. Don . - cones

The plant is indigenous to Japan, but it's also existing a variety called the Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis Sieb. et Zucc. which is endemic to China. Some authors (most of them Chinese) say that this variety is a own species by itself, because it has smaller cones as well as some minor differences in the shaped of the needles. However the true status isn't clear yet.

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