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Pseudotsuga sinensis

Pseudotsuga sinensis
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Scientific name: Pseudotsuga sinensis   Dode  1912

Synonyms: Pseudotsuga forrestii Craib, Pseudotsuga salvadorii Flous, Pseudotsuga shaanxiensis S.Z.Qu & K.Y.Wang, Pseudotsuga taitoensis Kaneh., Pseudotsuga wilsoniana Hayata, Pseudotsuga xichangensis C.T.Kuan & L.J.Zhou

Common names: Chinese Douglas-fir, Huang shan (Chinese)



Tree to 40(-50) m tall, with trunk to 0.8(-1) m in diameter. Bark dark brown to dark grayish brown, thick, with scaly, flat-topped ridges separated by deep furrows. Crown conical when young, broadening and becoming deeply to shallowly dome-shaped with age, with numerous horizontal to upwardly angled branches. Twigs reddish brown to yellowish gray, sparsely to densely hairy at first, at least on side shoots, with fine grooves between the leaf bases. Buds 6-7 mm long. Needles mostly sticking out to the sides, or sometimes all around the twig, (0.7-)1-4(-5.5) cm long, 1.5-3.2 mm wide, notched at the tip, yellowish green to dark green or bluish green above, the stomatal bands white to dirty grayish green. Pollen cones 10-15 mm long. Seed cones 3.5-8 cm long, 2-5.5 cm across, purplish green before maturity, ripening dark reddish brown, the seed scales thin but rigid, the bracts curled back. Seed 7-10 mm long, the wings 10-20 mm long.

Discontinuously distributed across southern and central China (hence the scientific name, Latin for “of China”) from northern Yunnan to Zhejiang and in Taiwan. Usually mixed with other conifers and deciduous or evergreen hardwoods on slopes of hills and mountains; (400-)800-2,800(-3,300) m. It requires a moist, temperate or warm temperate climate with annual precipitation between 1,000 and 2,000 mm. 


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

The species has undergone more than a 30% population reduction in the last three generations (75 years) due to loss of habitat and exploitation for its timber. Trees are also being lost through habitat destruction for expanding agricultural activities. Chinese Douglas-fir is a timber tree used for construction, bridge building, furniture and wood fibre. Very large trees are rare as they have been extensively logged in the past; hence the economic value of this species has diminished as it appears not very suitable for plantation forestry. It is a constituent of the mixed mesophytic forest formation in SE China, mainly with broad-leaved trees, in Sichuan also of the evergreen oak and deciduous hardwood forest, where besides Pseudotsuga other conifers occur (e.g. Tsuga chinensis, Tsuga dumosa, Picea brachytyla var. complanata). Unlike in North America, Pseudotsuga in Asia does not form extensive stands or occur in pure or nearly pure conifer forests. Its habit as a mature forest tree reflects this: trees are not columnar or pyramidal but develop spreading crowns much like the surrounding broad-leaved trees. The species is very rare in cultivation as an amenity tree and is virtually restricted to a few arboreta and botanic gardens. A substantial subpopulation is protected in Lin'an County, Zhejiang, China. Its also occurs in other protected areas in other parts of its range.



  • 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.

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