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Overview

Distribution

Japan, cultivated elsewhere (Nepal, Sikkim, Burma, Malaysia).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Native in Fujian, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; introduced in Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Japan]
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Physical Description

Morphology

Elevation Range

1300-2600 m
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Description

Trees to 40 m tall; trunk to at least 2 m d.b.h.; bark reddish brown, fibrous, peeling off in strips; crown pyramidal; main branches whorled, horizontally spreading or slightly pendulous; branchlets usually pendulous, those of 1st year green. Leaves on leader branchlets borne at 15-45° to axis, those on short (fertile) branchlets at 30-55° to axis, subulate to linear, ± straight or strongly incurved, (0.4-)0.7-1.4(-2) cm × 0.8-1.2 mm (width measured near base of two wider surfaces), rigid, stomatal bands with 2-8 rows of stomata on each surface. Cones borne from 5th year onward. Pollen cones borne in racemes of 6-35, ovoid or ovoid-ellipsoid, (2-)2.5-5(-8) × (1.3-)2-3(-4) mm, each cone (except basal and apical) subtended by a leaf shorter than to 1.5 × length of cone. Seed cones borne in groups of 1-6, globose or subglobose, 0.9-1.6(-2.5) × 1-2(-2.5) cm; cone scales 20-30, proximal 2 margins often convex in outline, or all 4 margins ± concave in outline, middle part with or without distinct shoulders at widest point, apex usually recurved, umbo rhombic, distally with 4 or 5(-7) toothlike projections 1-3.5 mm. Seeds 2-5 per cone scale, brown or dark brown, irregularly ellipsoid or multiangular and ± compressed, 4-6.5 × 2-3.5 mm; wings 0.2-0.25 mm wide. Pollination Feb-Apr, seed maturity Oct. 2n = 22.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Natural forests that include this species are now very rare (Tomaru et al. 1994) and those forests in which it still occurs have been greatly altered; the description is largely based on forests in Yakushima where an old growth forest still exists. The forest vegetation is mixed evergreen forest, with ca. 50% Cryptomeria, growing mixed or in groves; angiosperm evergreen trees are Trochodendron aralioides, Distylium racemosum, Camellia japonica, C. sasquana, Daphniphyllum spp., Michelia compressa, Myrica rubra, Quercus spp., Ilex spp., and Lauraceae; conifers are Abies firma, Tsuga sieboldii, Chamaecyparis obtusa, and Torreya nucifera; a few deciduous angiosperm trees, e.g. Stewartia monadelpha and Acer spp., make up less than 1% of tree cover. There is a diverse shrub-layer and some common climbers, e.g. Hydrangea petiolaris and Rhus orientalis; a rich cryptogamic flora covers the forest floor as well as trees, with abundant ferns, e.g. Hymenophyllum, mosses, and liverworts. The mountains on this island are of granite; the soils are well drained yellow loam or clay, often quite deep. The climate is mild temperate, with abundant rainfall.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Forests on deep, well-drained soils subject to warm, moist conditions, also cultivated as an ornamental and planted for timber; below 1100 m to 2500 m.
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
scattered to subgregarious, immersed pycnidium of Macrophoma coelomycetous anamorph of Macrophoma strobi feeds on leaf of Cryptomeria japonica
Remarks: season: 1-6

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Physalacria cryptomeriae is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed twig of Cryptomeria japonica
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Postia balsamea is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Cryptomeria japonica
Other: major host/prey

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Ramariopsis kunzei is associated with Cryptomeria japonica
Other: major host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cryptomeria japonica

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cryptomeria japonica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Thomas, P., Katsuki, T. & Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Page, C. & Luscombe, D

Contributor/s

Justification
Natural subpopualtions are small and highly fragmented. Identifying and distinguishing between natural forests and plantations makes the calculation of an extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) problematic. However, the AOO of the natural populations is likely to be within or close to the threshold for Vulnerable. A limited decline has been reported from some areas but the extent of the decline has not been quantified. An assessment of Near Threatened seems most appropriate until better information is available.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
Natural subpopulations are small, fragmented and disjunct with the majority along the western side of Japan. Some decline has been reported in lower elevation populations but the causes are uncertain (Matsumoto et al. 2006). The overall population trend is probably stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Extensive logging has removed trees of this species in much of its natural range and few old growth forests with Cryptomeria remain. Plantation forestry in Japan has made extensive use of the species, bringing it back to many areas where it had been greatly depleted. The species is undoubtedly regenerating naturally from this stock in many forests, so that the distinction between its natural distribution and anthropogenic occurrences can only be ascertained by a detailed study of forest history in Japan that would distinguish between primary and secondary occurrence. Some plantations are established from clonal material or with material that is not of local provenance. The potential impacts on natural populations via genetic contamination are uncertain. Cryptomeria has also been identified as susceptible to changes in precipitation; recent declines in lowland forests have been attributed to climate change (Matsumoto et al. 2006).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is partially protected on Yakushima where the largest subpopulation occurs. Some of the smaller subpopulations elsewhere are also protected, but logging is still permitted in others.
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Wikipedia

Cryptomeria

For the computer science cipher, see Cryptomeria cipher. For the Battle Royale character, see Hiroki Sugimura. For several Japanese ships, see Sugi (ship).
Plank cut from Cryptomeria japonica

Cryptomeria (literally "hidden parts") is a monotypic genus of conifer in the cypress family Cupressaceae, formerly belonging to the family Taxodiaceae. It includes only one species, Cryptomeria japonica (syn. Cupressus japonica L.f.). It is endemic to Japan, where it is known as Sugi (Japanese: ). The tree is often called Japanese cedar in English, though the tree is not related to the true cedars (Cedrus).

Cryptomeria japonica: (left) shoot with mature cones and immature male cones at top; (centre) adult foliage shoot; (right) juvenile foliage shoot
Grown as a bonsai

Description[edit]

It is a very large evergreen tree, reaching up to 70 m (230 ft) tall and 4 m (13 ft) trunk diameter, with red-brown bark which peels in vertical strips. The leaves are arranged spirally, needle-like, 0.5–1 cm (0.20–0.39 in) long; and the seed cones globular, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) diameter with about 20–40 scales. It is superficially similar to the related Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), from which it can be differentiated by the longer leaves (under 0.5 cm in the Giant Sequoia) and smaller cones (4–6 cm in the Giant Sequoia), and the harder bark on the trunk (thick, soft and spongy in Giant Sequoia).

Sugi has been so long-cultivated in China that it is thought by some to be native there. Forms selected for ornament and timber production long ago in China have been described as a distinct variety Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis (or even a distinct species, Cryptomeria fortunei), but they do not differ from the full range of variation found in the wild in Japan, and there is no definite evidence the species ever occurred wild in China. Genetic analysis of the most famous Chinese population of Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis in Tianmu Mountain, containing trees estimated to be nearly 1000 years old, supports the hypothesis that the population originates from an introduction.[3]

Cryptomeria japonica timber is extremely fragrant, weather and insect resistant, soft, and with a low density. The timber is used for the making of staves, tubs, casks, and for building and furniture. Easy to saw and season, it is favoured for light construction, boxes, veneers and plywood. Wood that has been buried turns dark green and is much valued. Resin from the tree contains cryptopimaric and phenolic acid. [4]

Biology[edit]

Cryptomeria grow in forests on deep, well-drained soils subject to warm, moist conditions, and it is fast-growing under these conditions. It is intolerant of poor soils and cold, drier climates.[5]

Cryptomeria is used as a food plant by the larvae of some moths of the genus Endoclita including E. auratus, E. punctimargo and E. undulifer.

Sugi (and Hinoki) pollen is a major cause of hay fever in Japan.

Mechanical properties[edit]

In dry air conditions, the initial density of Japanese cedar timber has been determined to be about 300–420 kg/m3.[6] It displays a Young's modulus of 8017 MPa, 753 MPa and 275 MPa in the longitudinal, radial and tangential direction in relation to the wood fibers.[6]

Cultivation[edit]

C. japonica is extensively used in forestry plantations in Japan, China and the Azores islands, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in other temperate areas, including Britain, Europe, North America and eastern Himalaya regions of Nepal and India. In the hills of Darjeeling and Sikkim, it is called dhuppi and the tall trees yield a light, soft wood that is extensively used for making planking for houses.

The cultivar 'Elegans' is notable for retaining juvenile foliage throughout its life, instead of developing normal adult foliage when one year old (see the picture with different shoots). It makes a small, shrubby tree 5–10 m (16–33 ft) tall. There are numerous dwarf cultivars that are widely used in rock gardens and for bonsai, including 'Tansu', 'Koshyi', 'Little Diamond', 'Yokohama' and 'Kilmacurragh.'

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • C. japonica[7]
  • 'Bandai-sugi'[8]
  • 'Elegans Compacta'[9]
  • 'Globosa Nana'[10]
  • 'Vilmoriniana'[11]
A forestry plantation of Cryptomeria

The wood is pleasantly scented, reddish-pink in colour, lightweight but strong, waterproof and resistant to decay. It is favoured in Japan for all types of construction work as well as interior panelling, etc. In Darjeeling district and Sikkim in India, where it is one of the most widely growing trees, C. japonica is called Dhuppi and is favoured for its light wood, extensively used in house building.

Its introduction in the Azores islands to be used commercially, resulted in the destruction of much of the original, now threatened, native laurel forest which affected an entire complex environment threatening many other species such as the priolo.

Symbolism[edit]

Sugi avenue at the Togakushi shrine in Nagano
Cryptomeria japonica - MHNT

Sugi is the national tree of Japan, commonly planted around temples and shrines, with many hugely impressive trees planted centuries ago. Sargent (1894; The Forest Flora of Japan) recorded the instance of a daimyō (feudal lord) who was too poor to donate a stone lantern at the funeral of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) at Nikkō Tōshō-gū, but requested instead to be allowed to plant an avenue of Sugi, "that future visitors might be protected from the heat of the sun". The offer was accepted; the avenue, which still exists, is over 65 km (40 mi) long, and "has not its equal in stately grandeur".[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Conifer Specialist Group (2000). Cryptomeria japonica. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  2. ^ "Cupressaceae Rich. ex Bartling 1830". The Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  3. ^ Chen, Y.; Yang, S. Z.; Zhao, M. S.; Ni, B. Y.; Liu, L.; Chen, X. Y. (2008). "Demographic Genetic Structure of Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis in Tianmushan Nature Reserve, China". Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50 (9): 1171–1177. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00725.x. PMID 18924282.  edit
  4. ^ "Cryptomeria jponica". World Agroforestry Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Flora of China http://www.efloras.org
  6. ^ a b B. Anshari, Z.W. Guan, A. Kitamori, K. Jung, I. Hassel, K. Komatsub (2010). "Mechanical and moisture-dependent swelling properties of compressed Japanese cedar". Construction and Building Materials 25 (4): 1718–1725. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2010.11.095. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cryptomeria japonica". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cryptomeria japonica 'Bandai-sugi'". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Compacta'". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cryptomeria japonica 'Globosa Nana'". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmoriniana'". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Sargent, Charles Sprague (1893). "Notes on the Forest Flora of Japan". Garden and Forest 6 (296): 442–443{{inconsistent citations}} 
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Notes

Comments

Fast-growing on deep, well-drained soils in montane areas with a warm, moist climate, but intolerant of poor soils and cold, drier climates. The wood is strongly rot resistant, easily worked, and is used for buildings, bridges, ships, lamp posts, furniture, utensils, and paper manufacture. The species is also cultivated as an ornamental tree.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Considered exotic in North America; native to eastern Asia (Hortus Third).

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