The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Tsuga forrestii

Downie 1923

Common names

丽江铁杉 lijiang tieshan [Chinese] (Wu and Raven (1999).

Taxonomic notes

Syn.: Tsuga chinensis (Franch.) E. Pritz. var. forrestii (Downie) Silba 1990. Closely related to T. chinensis. See the discussion of molecular findings on the T. chinensis page.


Evergreen trees to 30 m tall and 100 cm DBH, usually with a single round trunk, often forked in the crown. Bark rough, scaly, orange-brown, becoming brown-grey and furrowed on older trees. Crown broadly conical in young trees, becoming flat-topped or irregular with age. Twigs first red-brown or pink-brown, becoming gray-brown, ridged and grooved between decurrent pulvini, pubescent but soon glabrous. Buds globular, 2-3 mm diameter, slightly resinous, brown. Leaves spreading at nearly 90° from shoot, but shortest leaves erect above shoot; 1-2.5 cm × 2 mm, narrow ovate-linear, straight or curved, flattened, weakly grooved above, stomata in two white bands with a prominent midrib below, apex obtuse or emarginate. Pollen cones 3-5 mm long. Seed cones numerous on outer branches of crown, short pedunculate or sessile, ovoid-oblong when closed, 20-30×13-20 mm, green ripening light brown. Seed scales nearly circular, 10 mm across, slightly convex, margin rounded to erose, base short-pedunculate. Bracts broad-ovate with denticulate margins, 3-4 mm long. Seeds ovoid-oblong, 3.5×2 mm, brown, with 8×4 mm transparent wings (Farjon 2010).

Distribution and Ecology

China: NE Guizhou (Fanjingshan), SW Sichuan, and NW Yunnan, at elevations of 2000-3500 m. Climate cold-temperate, summer-wet, with 1000-2000 mm annual precipitation. Rarely or never forms pure stands; common associates include Abies spp., Picea spp., Larix potaninii, Cephalotaxus fortunei, and broadleaf trees such as Betula albosinensis and species of Acer, Sorbus, Quercus, and Magnolia (Farjon 2010, citing Wang 1961).

The conservation status warrants reassessment. Deforestation has substantially reduced the species, but it still has a substantial area of occupancy (Farjon 2010).

Big tree





The species is reasonably common in temperate-zone arboreta and botanical gardens, but I have no information on its occurrence in habitat.


Named for the collector, George Forrest (1873-1932), who collected the type specimen near Lijiang in November, 1918 (Downie 1923). The collection number is Forrest 17169, which gives you some idea of how prolific a collector Forrest was in the course of his long life as a field botanist.


Downie, Dorothy G. 1923. Chinese species of Tsuga. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 14:13-19. Available, accessed 2016.02.14.

Wang, C. W. 1961. The Forests of China. Harvard University: Publications of the Maria Moors Cabot Foundation, Botanical Research 5.

See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Photographs in Debreczy and Racz (2011).

Last Modified 2017-12-29