Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans.' PLUME CRYPTOMERIA Japan

TAXODIACEAE (Taxodium family)

Feathery evergreen conifer with interesting warm-colored fibrous bark and striking bronze foliage in winter. The tiny needle leaves form fluffy thick masses. Examples may be seen on Lagunita Drive between the Faculty Club and Lomita Drive and at the entrance to the Old Chemistry Building on Lomita Drive. The general appearance is rather different from that of the standard species which has stiff sharp needles with a roughly triangular cross-section where they join the stem. The needle also runs down the stem a little. The cones resemble redwood cones but are a little smaller and more nearly spherical. Each scale ends in three to five claws and has an additional claw in the middle.

The standard form may be seen at the right side of the driveway at Bolivar House (582 Alvarado Row, planted 1892); a group of three is at Old Chemistry. Giant specimens of Japan’s largest tree are seen at Nikko, Japan. A bit closer to the Bat Area, the State Capital arboretum has a few nice examples.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Illustrations (links open new windows): male and female cones 12/15/05|

Additions/Revisions:

Name derivation, genus | species Greek krypto (hidden) and meris (part), referring to the hidden reproductive parts | from Japan

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

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