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Cephalotaxus oliveri

Cephalotaxus oliveri
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Product Information

Scientific name: Cephalotaxus oliveri M.T.Masters  1898

Synonyms:Cephalotaxus griffithii Oliv.

Common names:Oliver plum yew, Oliver's plum yew, Bi zi san jian shan (Chinese)



Shrub, or tree to 4 m tall, with trunk, when present, to 0.2 m in diameter. Bark yellowish brown to grayish brown, smooth and peeling in scales. Crown thin and irregular. Branchlets remaining green in the second year or turning brown. Leaves needlelike, closely spaced so that adjoining leaves often touch or slightly owerlap with one another, spreading flat or raised in a shallow V and drooping at the tips, shiny or dull dark green above, duller beneath, the white to whitish green stomatal bands about as wide as the midrib region, each band with 13-17 lines of stomates. Needles 1.5-2.5(-3.5) cm long, (2.3-)3-4(-4.5) mm wide, sword-shaped, straight or gently curved forward, nearly parallel-sided, tapering abruptly to the roundly triangular tip with a stiff, brittle point about 1 mm long, abruptly giving way to the squared-off or heart-shaped base on a very short, scarcely evident petiole to 0.5 mm long, arched around the midrib, the edges flat. Pollen cone clusters 5-7 mm in diameter with five to seven (to nine) pollen cones on a short stalk 2-3 mm long. Seed cones single or in groups of two or three on stalks 6-10 mm long. Seeds 2-3 cm long, the skin passing from pale reddish brown to red with maturity.

Endemic to south-central China, from the western border of Yunnan to southwestern Hubei, eastern Jiangxi, and northwestern Guangdong. Scattered in the understory of moist warm temperate evergreen and mixed lower montane hardwood forests, especially in valleys near streams; 300-1,000(-1,800) m.   


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

(This species has a very wide range and a very large population, but across the whole area it has experienced population reduction of more than 30% over the past three generations (at least 90 years) due to direct exploitation of the plant for medicinal purposes and the loss of habitat due to deforestation by logging and agricultural expansion. The reduction could possibly exceed 50%, but there is insufficient information to confirm this. The reduction is likely to continue, possibly at the same rate or even higher, but without further field evidence it is hard to justify this projection, hence this species is listed as Vulnerable based purely on the past declines)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodeCEP6AFJ562

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