Fokienia hodginsii

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Fokienia hodginsii
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Cupressoideae
Genus: Fokienia
A. Henry & H. H. Thomas
Species: F. hodginsii
Binomial name
Fokienia hodginsii
(Dunn) A. Henry & H. H. Thomas

Fokienia is a genus in the family Cupressaceae. In its characteristics, Fokienia is intermediate between the genera of Chamaecyparis and Calocedrus. Genetically Fokienia is much closer to Chamaecyparis, and not all researchers recognize Fokienia as a separate genus.[1] The genus comprises only one living species, Fokienia hodginsii or Fujian Cypress (Chinese: 福建柏; pinyin: Fújiànbǎi; Vietnamese: Pơmu), and one fossil species (Fokienia ravenscragensis).[2][3]

Fokienia hodginsii is native from southeastern China (provinces of Zhejiang, Guizhou, Yunnan and Fujian) to Northern Vietnam (provinces of Ha Bac, Hà Giang, Hà Tĩnh, Hòa Bình, Sơn La, Nghệ An, Lào Cai, Lai Châu, Thanh Hóa, Tuyên Quang, Yên Bái and Vĩnh Phú), west central Vietnam (provinces of Đắk Lắk, Gia Lai, Lâm Đồng), and west to northern Laos. The name derives from the old Romanised name of Fujian province, China, from where the first specimen was introduced to Europe, collected by Captain Hodgins in 1908.[2] [3]

It is an evergreen tree, 25–30 m tall. It has greyish-brownish bark that peels off when the tree is young. On older trees, the bark presents longitudinal fissures and becomes aromatic. The leaves are arranged in flattened branchlet systems, with the branchlets in one plane. The leaves on adult trees are in opposite decussate pairs, the alternating pairs not evenly spaced so appearing as whorls of 4 at the same level; they are sub-acute, about 2–5 mm long, glossy green above, and with white stomatal bands below. The lateral leaves are ovate and compressed, and facial leaves are oblanceolate with a triangular apex. On young trees, the leaves are larger, up to 8–10 mm long and 6 mm broad.[2] [3]

The male cones are oval or cylindrical, around 2.5 mm long, terminal on the shoots. They have from 3 to 5 pairs of scales. The female cones are much larger, 15–25 mm long and 14–22 mm broad, globose or sub-globose, and ripen in the second year. They have 5-8 pairs of scales. There are two winged seeds on each scale. They are around 4 mm long, angular and pointed. On the upper and lower surfaces there are 2 large resin blisters. The wings are lateral and very unequal.[2] [3]

The tree does not tolerate shade, and requires mild climate and abundant rainfall to grow best. It occurs mainly on humid soil in montane habitats. In Vietnam, it grows on limestone or granite terrain above 900 m altitude.

The fossil species Fokienia ravenscragensis was described from the early Paleocene (66-60 m.a. before present) Ravenscrag formation of southwest Saskatchewan and adjacent Alberta, Canada.


Laotian and Dao tribesmen use Fujian cypress timber for wall partitioning or roofing. The timber was formerly used for coffins. In Vietnam, it is considered a precious timber because of its characteristic aroma and its exceptional weight; therefore it is used to make art works, pieces of furniture, and charcoal of high heat value. It is a threatened species in Vietnam.

Distillation, especially of its root, gives an essential oil used in cosmetics and medicine.


External links

  • Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Fokienia hodginsii. 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  • Arboretum de Villardebelle: photo of cone
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