This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, kryptos, hidden, meros, part; meaning doubtful). Pinacese. Ornamental evergreen cultivated for its handsome habit and foliage.
Large pyramidal tree, with a straight slender trunk, covered with reddish brown bark and with verticil-late spreading branches, ascending at the extremities: leaves spirally arranged, linear-subulate, acute, slightly curved, decurrent at the base: flowers monoecious; staminate oblong, yellow, forming short racemes at the end of the branches, pistillate globular, solitary, at the end of short branchlets: cone globular, with thick, wedge-shaped scales, furnished with a recurved point on the back and with pointed lobes at the apex, each scale with 3-5 narrow-winged, erect seeds. - One species in China and Japan, extensively planted for avenues, and as timber trees in the latter country, where the light and easily worked but durable wood is much used. It is hardy as far north as New York, and thrives in sheltered positions even in New England. It seems, however, in cultivation, not to assume the beauty it possesses in its native country. With us, it looks best as a young plant, when it much resembles the Arau-caria excelsa. It is therefore sometimes grown in pots. It thrives best in a rich, loamy and moist soil and sheltered position. Propagated by seeds or by cuttings of growing wood, especially variety elegans, which grows very readily.
The horticultural varieties are also sometimes increased by grafting.
Don. Tree, attaining 125 ft.: leaves linear-subulate, compressed and slightly 4- or 3-angled, bluish green, 1/2-1 in. long: cone brownish red, 3/4 in. across. S.Z. 124. H.I. 7:668. R.H. 1887, p. 392. Gng. 4:197. F.E. 10:510. G.F. 6:446. - Of the garden forms, the most desirable is variety elegans, Beissn. (C. elegans, Veitch). Low, dense tree, with horizontal branches and pendulous branchlets: leaves linear, flattened, soft, spreading, longer than in the type, bright green, changing to bronzy red in fall and winter. Very handsome when young, but short-lived. variety araucaroides, Carr. Of regular pyramidal habit, with short, thick falcate leaves, resembling Araucaria excelsa. variety compacta, Beissn. Of very compact habit, with bluish green foliage. variety pyramidalis, Carr. Of narrow pyramidal compact habit, dark bluish green, not changing to reddish brown during winter. variety Lobbii, Carr. Of compact habit, with shorter and more apressed bright and deep green leaves variety nana, Knight. Dwarf and procumbent, densely branched form; adapted for rockeries. variety spiralis, Veitch. Slender shrub, with strongly falcate leaves, twisted spirally around the branchlets.
S.Z. 124, fig. 4. Alfred Rehder.