Sunday, March 16, 2008


Cunninghamia lancelota. I was going to say this is one for Julia given her penchant for her mesozoic plantbabies but after a little research I'm not sure if Cunninghamia is still classified in the ancient group of trees as the redwoods (it may now be a cypress - I'm confused).

Here's what I can tell you. This is our Cunninghamia - its around 10 years old but cultivated Cunninghamia have been around for a long time. This is known as coffin tree in some areas as its wood is prized for this purpose as well as for building temples.

cunninghamia lancelota

In fact due to the ease with which it is clonal propagated its been cultivated for well over 800 years for organised forestry...presumably by people who don't freak out every autumn when this "evergreen" turns this colour.

cunninghamia lancelota

Edited to add links and correct spelling and add the following:

This is one of those plants a little like monkeypuzzle that looks great young but can get messy when big. That being said most conifers get far too big for most gardens so if you are going to plant a conifer and then either replace it when it gets too big or prune it somehow this may be the interesting option for you. I'd certainly like to see more of them around.


Pam in Tucson said...

Interesting tree. I think I'd freak out, too, if I saw this from a distance. But the close-up shows me that it's really very beautiful with its variegated colours. -- Pam

Julia said...

Just catching up with posts now... I really like that one - I think the bronze leaves look lovely. I shall have to check out the old Chiltern Seeds catalogue to see if it's in there!