China Fir
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China Fir
E Introduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: China Fir
Botanical name: Cunninghamia lanceolata    Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress family)
Synonyms: Pinus lanceolata, Pinus abies, Larix chinensis

China Fir is an evergreen conifer, not a fir despite its name. The tree itself can grow to be 50 meters in height, although 15-30 m is more common. ItÂ’s bark, in maturity, is brown and described as stringy, as it can be pulled away to reveal reddish inner bark. Leathery, needle-like leaves are arranged spirally on the branches, and can turn bronze in winter. These dead leaves can hold onto their parent branch for several years, crowding out new, healthy growth. Pollen cones and seed cones are both found on the ends of shoots, although the seed cones often lower on the tree than the pollen cones. Both cones are found in clusters, with dozens of small pollen cones populating one shoot-end, compared to seed cones found in smaller clusters and often with pollen cones at their base. China Fir is native to China, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Gaurav Verma Photographed in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh & Gangtok, Sikkim.

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