Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Calocedrus Formosana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Calocedrus formosana (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Calocedrus formosana (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 25m

Eventual Spread: 15m

Hardiness: 9a – 10a

Family: Cupressaceae

Calocedrus formosana is a medium sized evergreen tree. Its mid to glaucus green leaves are scale like, up to 8mm long and appear in flattened splays. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 3m. Its orange/ brown bark becomes gray and fissured with age and exfoliates in long strips. Its flowers are in the form of pollen cones and are up to 5mm long. Its fruit are seed cones, up to 15mm long, initially pale purple and maturing to brown.

Calocedrus formosana, commonly known as Taiwan Incense Cedar or Yellow Flesh Tree, is native to Taiwan. In its native habitat it occurs in mixed evergreen forests. Calocedrus formosana is synonymous with Calocedrus macrolepis var. formosana. Calocedrus formosana is classified as Endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The etymological root of the binomial name Calocedrus is derived from the Greek Kalos meaning ‘beautiful’ and Cedrus another genus of coniferous tree. Formosana is derived from the former name of Taiwan, Formosa.

Although not commonly available the landscape architect may find Calocedrus formosana useful as an attractive evergreen tree.

Ecologically, Calocedrus formosana seeds are attractive to some birds.

Calocedrus formosana Leaf (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Calocedrus formosana Leaf (06/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Calocedrus formosana prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Calocedrus formosana requires little maintenance.

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