The Gymnosperm Database


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Pilger 1917 (p. 41)

Common names

Catkin-yew; sui hua shan shu [Chinese].

Taxonomic notes

A genus of six species:

"Although Page (in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 1: 299-302. 1990) included it in the Cephalotaxaceae, molecular data indicate very strongly that it is the sister genus of Torreya, which is similar in the size and shape of its seed and in usually having bilaterally symmetric clusters of pollen sacs" (Fu et al. 1999). Cheng et al. (2000) corroborated this conclusion using chloroplast matK gene analysis, and separately using nuclear data (nrITS sequences).


"Evergreen, dioecious shrubs or small trees, allied to Cephalotaxus, differing from it in male catkins which are thin, pendent and in groups (2-4 together) and in solitary ovules. Shoots opposite. Needles opposite, leathery, acuminate, with 2 bluish stomata bands on the lower surface. Fruit drupe-like, reddish, aril not entirely enclosing the seed, but open at the apex" (Vidakovic 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

China, India, Vietnam and Taiwan (Farjon 1998).

Big tree







Cheng Yuchang, Robert G. Nicolson, Kim Tripp, and Shu-Miaw Chaw. 2000. Phylogeny of Taxaceae and Cephalotaxaceae genera inferred from chloroplast matK gene and nuclear rDNA ITS region. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 14(3):353–365.

Pilger, R.K.F. 1917. Kritische Übersicht über die neuere Literatur betreffend die Familie der Taxaceae. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie. 54:1-43. This publication is available online at

See also

Ferguson, D.K. 1992. A Kräusel legacy: advances in our knowledge of the taxonomy and evolution of Amentotaxus. Pp. 255-285 in F. Schaarschmidt (ed.), Anatomical investigations of plant fossils: Richard Kräusel Memorial. Frankfurt-am-Main: Cour. Forsch.-Inst. Senckenberg 147.

Last Modified 2017-12-29