The Gymnosperm Database


YaYa Qparung, one of the largest known trees of this species, about 2 meters diameter (the photographer's son is only 4 years old). Near Smangus, Xinchu County, northern Taiwan [Ludovic Angot, 2009].


This is thought to be the largest tree ever recorded, described by Carder (1995). The photograph, from Clinton-Baker (1913), is credited to Mr. A.R. Firth.

line drawing

Line drawing (Li 1975).


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Conservation status

Chamaecyparis formosensis

Matsum. 1901

Common Names

Taxonomic notes

Syn. Cupressus formosensis (Matsum.) A. Henry 1910. Closely allied to Ch. pisifera, from which it differs in its more oblong cones (not globose), with the scales flat or slightly protuberant, not depressed in the centre.


A tree attaining huge size in Taiwan, up to 65 m. Bark more or less red-brown. Branchlets in a horizontal plane. Shoots flattened. Leaves scale-like, shortly mucronate, triangular, upper surface green, whitish below, lateral scales of the same length as the facial ones, which have a glandular pit each; when crushed, foliage has an odour of rotting seaweed. Mature cones elliptic, 7-10(-12) mm long, 6-8(-9) mm across, composed of 10 to 14 scales with the outer surface brown, wrinkled and flat or slightly protuberant in the centre. Seeds 3 mm wide and brown, 2 on each scale (Vidakovic 1991; M.P. Frankis email 1999.02.03).

Distribution and Ecology

Taiwan. Mountainous regions in the north and central parts of the island at 1000-3000 m, often forming pure stands or mixed with C. obtusa var. formosana (Li 1975). Kaoxiung & Taichung Xians, 24°17' to 24°23'N by 120°58' to 121°21'E, in coniferous and broadleaf mixed forest (HAST Database). Hardy to Zone 8 (cold hardiness limit between -12.1°C and -6.7°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree

Diameter 582 cm, height 49.4 m, on Mount Morrison (Carder 1995).

Of the 10 biggest trees in Taiwan (ca. 2010), 9 of them are Ch. formosensis. Ludovic Angot (email 2013.11.27) compiled the following list identifying them:

DBH Height Name Location
656 cm 55 m Taiwan “juwu bashen mu” (giant god wood) Miaoli Tai An township, Da An river nb 75
653 cm 30 m Lu Lin God wood, Shin Zhong Shin Zhong Hen 88th km, Alishan 219 lin ban
611 cm 42 m Yu huo Feng huang taoyuan xian, Fu Xin township, Da Guan Shan 18
567 cm 48 m Mian yue (sleeping moon) Between Alishan And Xitou (Nantou county)
532 cm 34 m Guan Wu number 2 (Fog observer) Guan Wu forest recreation park (Hsinchu, Jien Shi Township)
557 cm 35 m Smangus giant wood Dan Shi 89th lin ban
509 cm 36 m Reservoir god tree Alishan 7 lin ban number 8
446 cm 55 m Ling Yun (higher than cloud) god tree Taoyuan xian, Fu Xin township, Da Guan Shan 21
433 cm 47.1 m Guan Wu number 1 (Fog observer) Guan Wu forest recreation park (Hsinchu, Jien Shi Township)


"This species can attain 1500 years of age, and the oldest tree in Taiwan is about 3000 years old" (Vidakovic 1991). This is an extraordinary age to cite without supporting data, and must for now be regarded with skepticism.






Clinton-Baker, H. 1913. Illustrations of Conifers, Vol. 3. Privately printed: Hertford. Available at

Welch, H.J. and G. Haddow 1993. The World Checklist of Conifers.

This page co-edited with M.P. Frankis, 1999.02.

See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Farjon (2005).

Huang 1994 (the Flora of Taiwan).

Last Modified 2017-12-29