The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Amentotaxus yunnanensis

H.L. Li 1952 (p. 197)

Common names

Vietnamese: Thông tre vân nam, Sam bông (FIPI 1996).

Taxonomic notes


Tree to 20 m tall and 25 cm dbh, with a wide, ovate crown. "Twigs opposite, smooth or slightly lined, green or glaucous, turning yellow, yellowish or yellow-grey after 2-3 years. Leaves subopposite, arranged into 2 rows, 3.5-10(15) cm long and 8-15 mm wide, narrowly lanceolate or linear, straight or curved on upper part, obtuse or pointed with subrounded or broadly cuneate base. Margin slightly revolute. Midrib evident above, flat beneath, two bands of stomata on both surfaces, usually white or grey, 2-4 mm wide. In leaf-buds, band of stomata often narrower. Female cone spike-like, with 4-6 spikes at the branch-tips, 10-15 cm long. Each stamen bears 4-8 anthers (usually 6-7). Fruit often solitary on the annual branches, downcurved, ovate, 2.2-2.8 cm long and 1.4 cm wide. Pericarp violet-red when mature, slightly covered with white powder. Stalk stout, 1.5 cm long, lower part flat, upper part quadrangular" (FIPI 1996).

Distribution and Ecology

"Vietnam and southern China (Yunnan). In Vietnam only found in primary forest of Lao Kai province, above 700m asl. on Hoang Lien Son mountain. Humid-demanding tree, shade-tolerant when young. Can tolerate low temperature. Usually mixed with Chamaecyparis hodginsii or Podocarpus neriifolius" (FIPI 1996). Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

The IUCN reports that as of 1998, this species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, due to habitat loss. This assessment needs to be updated.

Big tree




Wood white used for furniture. Seeds contain oil. Can be planted as a shade or decorative tree (FIPI 1996).


In Vietnam, where it is endangered, it is protected in Hoang Lien Son Nature Reserve (FIPI 1996).



Li Hui-Lin. 1952. A taxonomic review of the genus Amentotaxus. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 33:192-198. This publication is available online at

See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Hiep et al. 2004.

Luu and Thomas 2004 provide a description, range map, conservation status, drawings and photos, and a wealth of additional information.

Last Modified 2017-12-29