Conifers Garden - Online Conifer Nursery


Fokienia hodginsii

Fokienia hodginsii - Fujian cypress, Fujian cedar, Fujian bai, Po mu
  • Fokienia hodginsii - Fujian cypress, Fujian cedar, Fujian bai, Po mu - Click to enlarge
  • Fokienia hodginsii - Fujian cypress, Fujian cedar, Fujian bai, Po mu - Click to enlarge
  • Fokienia hodginsii - Fujian cypress, Fujian cedar, Fujian bai, Po mu - Click to enlarge

Scientific name: Fokienia hodginsii  (S.Dunn) A.Henry & H.H.Thomas  1911

Synonyms: Chamaecyparis hodginsii (Dunn) Rushforth, Cupressus hodginsii Dunn, Fokienia kawaii Hayata, Fokienia maclurei Merr.

Common names: Fujian cypress, Fujian cedar (English), Fujian bai (Chinese), Po mu (Vietnamese)



Tree to 30 m tall, with trunk to 1 m in diameter. Bark purplish brown, weathering grayish brown, sparsely scaly above, shallowly furrowed lower down. Crown conical at first, cylindrical with age. Branchlet sprays soft but stiff, of varied orientation, with prominent waxy white stomatal patches occupying most of the lower surface. Scale leaves bluish green above and on the nonstomatal regions beneath. Lateral leaves of juveniles with spreading tips, 5-10 mm long, longer than the facial ones, at 4-7 mm. Facial and lateral leaves of adults about equal, 2-7 mm long, without glands. Leaf tips turned inward, those of facial leaves overlapping the base of the next pair. Pollen cones 4-5 mm long, yellow. Seed cones 1.5-2.5 cm long, 1.2-2.2 cm across. Seed body 4-5 mm long, 3-4 wide.

China south of the Changjiang (Yangtze River) and adjacent northern Laos and Vietnam, reappearing in southern Vietnam south to Lam Dong province. Subtropical montane forests with other conifers and broad-leaved evergreens; 300-1,800(-2,300) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

Although there is a shortage of quantitative data on population reductions, given the levels of targeted exploitation of this highly sought after timber species, it is very likely that the population reduction has exceeded 30% in the past three generations (more than 300 years) and may be approaching 50%. The area of occupancy is also within the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B2, and there is severe fragmentation of the population. Declines are continuing in large parts of its range despite enforcement measures now in place in China and Vietnam. Based on available information an assessment of Vulnerable under the criteria for A2 and B2 is probably conservative: with better information, particularly for natural population sizes in China, this species could be upgraded to Endangered.

It is a relatively common species in China – while population is estimated to number 654,789 individuals, it is uncertain how many of these are mature individuals or have been planted as part of afforestation schemes. The largest Chinese subpopulations are in Guizhou. In Vietnam and Laos, subpopulations are fragmented and localized. Most of the large subpopulations have been decimated by legal and illegal logging and in these countries a continuous decline is occurring.

This conifer is usually a minor constituent (can be dominant in some forests) of subtropical to warm temperate evergreen (mixed) mesophytic forest. In China, when this forest is in an undisturbed state, it is dominated by numerous angiosperm trees e.g. Castanopsis spp., Quercus spp., Lithocarpus spp., Nyssa sinensis, Pasania spp., Schima argentea, Schima superba, and a few other conifers e.g. Cephalotaxus fortunei and Nothotsuga longibracteata. With continued disturbance conifers like Cunninghamia lanceolata and especially Pinus massoniana or Pinus densata become more abundant and eventually dominate. The altitudinal range of Fokienia hodginsii is from 300 m to 2,300 m a.s.l. Soils are acidic (pH 5-6) yellow or brown loamy sands over sandstone, shales, granite, or rhyolite and well drained. Mean annual precipitation is 1,200 mm or more. In Vietnam and Laos it may be associated with conifers such as Pinus krempfii, Taiwania cryptomerioides (Vietnam) or Cunninghamia konishii (Laos and Vietnam).

In Laos, the majority of the known stands have already been decimated by legal and illegal logging. In Vietnam, past exploitation has been intensive with few untouched stands remaining. Illegal logging continues to be a major problem even within National Parks and reserves. The situation in China is possibly similar in many areas where mature forests are shrinking under population pressures and despite the introduction of a generalized logging ban.

The wood of this species, like other cupressaceous trees in eastern Asia, is much valued for construction. In most areas where it occurs, wild growing trees are logged; its slow growth makes it a tree difficult to exploit economically in plantation forestry. In southern China and in Vietnam the rot resistant and even-grained wood is prized for doors, window frames, and carved panels, as well as furniture. In remote regions pit-sawn timbers are often transported off the mountains by man-power to fetch high prices in urban centres.

Fokienia has recently been used for climatic studies aimed at improving our understanding of past variability in the SE Asian monsoon and El Nino events. Its great longevity (ca. 1500 years at least) and sensitivity to moisture makes it an ideal candidate for such studies.

This conifer is cultivated in cemeteries and parks in China, but rare elsewhere despite its relative hardiness and suitability in parts of the world with similar climates such as New Zealand, Atlantic SW Europe, northern California and Oregon and southern Japan.

This species is present in several protected areas in China, Laos and Vietnam (Hoanglien National Park, Bi Doup National Park near Dalat). In China this is a protected species (2nd degree) while in Viet Nam it is on the official List of Rare and Precious Flora and Fauna which restricts any exploitation.



  • 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.

This field is required.