The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Juniperus formosana

Hayata 1908

Common names

Formosan juniper, prickly cypress (Vidakovic 1991).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Juniperus taxifolia Parl. in Candolle 1868 non Hook. et Arn. 1838; J. mairei Lemée et Lev. 1914; J. formosana var. mairei (Lemée et Lev.) R.P. Adams et C.F. Hsieh 2002; J. formosana var. concolor Hayata 1918; J. formosana var. sinica Nakai 1938; J. chekiangensis Nakai 1938. One infraspecific taxon, Juniperus formosana var. formosana f. tenella Hand.-Mazz. 1929 (Farjon 2005).


"A tree up to 15 (25) m high, often with several stems. Bark brown, fibrous, exfoliating in strips. Crown conical. Branches spreading or directed upwards. Branchlets pendulous. Foliage needle-like, in whorls of 3, 12-15 mm long, about 2 mm wide, with 2 white stomata bands above. Fruit orange to dark red-brown, globose to broadly ovate, 8 mm across, with 3 furrows at the top, in each fruit 3 oblong-ovate, triangular seeds" (Vidakovic 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

China, Taiwan: As low as 1900, usually 2500-3600 m. Yushania forest, mixed conifer-broadleeaf forest, and above treeline. 120°44'41"E to 121°38'21"E, by 22°36'41"N to 24°28'03"N. Includes Sheipa, Taroko and Yushan National Parks (HAST Database). Var. concolor collected from Taiwan, "Hualien Xian: Taroko National Park: Yenhai Forest Road. Exposed windy mountain summit, facing a valley. Overall vegetation: dwarf shrubs and herbs. Plants sprawling. Elevation:1070-1130 m" (HAST Database).

Hardy to Zone 8 (cold hardiness limit between -12.1°C and -6.7°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree





Shei-Pa, Taroko and Yushan National Parks look like good places to see it.



TROPICOS - Flora of China Checklist, formerly at, accessed 1998.11.02, now defunct.

See also

Farjon (2005) provides a detailed account, with illustrations.

Huang 1994 (the Flora of Taiwan).

Last Modified 2017-12-29