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, head; Taxus-Uke plant, with flowers in heads or clusters). Taxaceae. Yew-like plants, grown for their handsome evergreen foliage.
Trees or shrubs, with evergreen linear pointed leaves with 2 broad, glaucous lines beneath, arranged in 2 rows: flowers dioecious, staminate in 1-8-flowered, short-stalked clusters, pistillate consisting of a small cone with several bracts, each bearing 2 naked ovules: seed inclosed in a fleshy envelope, drupe-like, about 1 in. long, reddish or greenish brown. From allied genera it may be easily distinguished by the resin-canal in the center of the pith; and by the glaucous lines beneath from Taxus, which has the leaves yellowish green beneath; and from Torreya by the glaucous lines being broader than the 3 green lines, while in Torreya the glaucous lines are narrower than the green ones. - Six closely allied species from Himalayas to Japan.
These are ornamental evergreen shrubs, in appearance very like a yew, but of more graceful habit. Not hardy North, or only in very sheltered positions. They thrive best in a somewhat moist but well-drained sandy loam, and in partly shaded situations. Propagated by seeds, stratified and sown in spring; imported seeds usually do not germinate until the second year; increased also by cuttings in August, under glass, and by veneer-grafting in summer, on one of the species or on Taxus baccata. For cions and cuttings, terminal shoots should be chosen, which form regular plants with whorled branches like seedlings, while cuttings from lateral branches grow into irregular, low, spreading shrubs.
a. Leaves 2-3 in.: branchlets yellowish green, pendulous. Fortunei, Hook. Leaves tapering gradually into a sharp point, usually falcate, dark green and shining above: fruit greenish brown, obovate. N. China, Japan. B.M. 4499. F.S. 6:555. R.H. 1878, p. 117. - This is the most graceful species, with long and slender branches, attaining in its native country 50 ft. in height, in cult, usually remaining a shrub.
aa. Leaves 1-2 in. long.
b. Base of leaves cuneate; leaves loosely 2-ranked.
(C. pedunculata, Sieb. & Zucc. C. drupacea variety Harringtonia, Pilger). With spreading, often somewhat pendulous branches, dark green when young: leaves to 2 in. long, narrowed into a sharp point, shining and dark green above: staminate flowers distinctly peduncled: fruit ovoid, rounded at both ends, rarely globular. Japan, China. G.C. II. 21:113; III. 18:716; 33:228. - In Japan, tree to 25 ft., usually shrub in cultivation A remarkable form is variety fastigiata, Silva Tarouca (C. pedunculata variety fastigiata, Carr. Podocdrpus koraiana, Sieb. & Zucc), of columnar habit, with upright branches and spirally arranged leaves G.C. II. 21:112; III. 33:229. S.H. 2:450. Gng. 2:341. variety sphaeralis, Rehd. (C. pedunculata variety sphaerdlis, Mast.), has globose fruit: leaves falcate, subacuminate, 1 1/2-2 in. long. G.C. II. 21:117.
Sieb. & Zucc. Branches spreading, stiff, usually light green when young: leaves about 1 in. long, abruptly pointed, narrow and straight, often upturned: staminate flowers very short-stalked: fruit usually obovate, narrowed at the base. Japan. G.C. III. 18:717; 33: 227. B.M. 8285. - The dwarfest species. variety sinensis, Rehd. & Wilson. Shrub, to 12 ft.: leaves linear-lanceolate, tapering to sharp point. Cent, and W. China.
bb. Base of leaves truncate; leaves very closely set.
Oliveri, Mast. Shrub or small tree: leaves strictly 2-ranked, rigid, broadly linear, spiny-pointed, about 1 in. long, bright green with 2 broad white bands beneath, the midrib scarcely elevated: fruit ovoid or obovoid, shortly apiculate, about 1/2in. long. Cent. China. H.I. 1933 (as C. Griffithii). G.C. III. 33:226. - Differs from the other species in the very closely set rigid leaves