Platycladus orientalis - Oriental Arborvitae




Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco
Platycladus orientalis is an easily recognized species, which has seen some tortuous nomenclatural changes over the last 260 years of botanical classification. Today it is widely accepted in its monotypic genus, which only has distant relation to the genus Thuja. Originally it was named as Thuja orientalis by Linnaeus and so published in Species Plantarum (1753). However, the differences between the "western arborvitae", i.e. Th. occidentalis, and this, the "oriental arborvitae", have been quite obvious so a name change had to come sooner or later. The generic name Platycladus was introduced by Édouard Spach (1841) and Biota by Stephan (Ladislaus) Endlicher (1847); yet, the old name Thuja orientalis survived for quite a long time. The doyen of Portuguese botany, João do Amaral Franco made the appropriate combination Platycladus orientalis, a name generally in current use. – The plant is essentially native to northern China from the eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau to Heilongjiang. It also occurs in adjacent Korea and the Russian Far East mostly in drycontinental woodlands, often in very steep, windy, quickly drying slopes. Oriental Arborvitae is a very widely cultivated plant that has naturalized in places such as western and central Asia. – Its cones are variable: the hornlike protrusions are sometimes very long and recurved, in other specimens inconspicuous. Here only two examples are shown.

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