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ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Morpankhi, Oriental thuja, Oriental arborvitae • Hindi: मोरपंखी Morpankhi, मयूरपंखी mayurpankhi • Manipuri: ꯂꯥꯢꯔꯤꯛꯍꯩꯕꯤ Lairikheibi • Nepali: मयूरपंखी mayurpankhi
Botanical name: Platycladus orientalis    Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress family)
Synonyms: Thuja orientalis, Biota orientalis

Morpankhi is a plant which is found in every small garden in India. Belonging to the cypress family, it is a densely branched evergreen conifer that can become 50 ft tall with a spread of 20. However, it is commonly grown as a smaller, bushier shrub. It tends to have several to many stems, but can be trimmed to a single leader stem creating a treelike form. The overall shape is conical, with the crown becoming more irregular and spreading with age. The bark is rusty-brown and fibrous. The numerous slender ascending branches support shoots that spread out in flat, vertical planes. The leaves are like little scales overlapping and tightly packed on the shoots. The cones are 15-25 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have 6-12 thick scales arranged in opposite pairs. Morpankhi is native to China and Korea, but cultivated as an ornamental plant the world over.

Identification credit: Radhika Vathsan Photographed in Delhi.

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