Identification: What conifer, 5cm single lance-shaped blue needles?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by wcutler, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I hope this isn't a common tree, but it doesn't match any descriptions that I know. The needles are single, around 5cm long, many of them blue. The tree looks sort-of sprucy, but the needles are long, lance-shaped and pointed and lie flatter than on spruces I know, but seem tougher and lie not as flat as on the firs I know (which isn't many). I didn't notice any cones, not that I remembered to look. I saw it today in Stanley Park in Vancouver.
     

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  2. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    When I saw the photos, I thought of China fir Cunninhamia lanceolata
     
  3. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Possibly blue enough to conform to the characteristics of a blue ('Glauca') China fir.
     
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, all. I think the China Fir photos look more similar. I'll look out for cones and white or greenish-white stomatal bands underneath; I didn't see any of those, but I forget which site said they're not always present. The Oregon State writeup was pretty good, except that it puts it in the Taxodiaceae family, but Wikipedia says this family is now included within the Cupressaceae.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Definately Cunninghamia lanceolata.

    Note that "china fir" is an error, it isn't a fir at all, more related to cypresses and sequoias.
     
  7. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    Yep, definitely Cunninghamia lanceolata.
    This may be a form called Glauca which occasionally crops up. The specimen by our offices never produces the bluish/silvery new growth and it was a wild collected specimen.
    Nice tree!!
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: Cunninghamia lanceolata, 5cm single lance-shaped blue needles

    This is no longer a question. I noticed the cones today on this same Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca', so I'm posting photos of those, and a couple other photos. Surely this was the inspiration for some Dr Seuss character.
     

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  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Those are the pollen cones there; seed cones as in the pic below.
     

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  10. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Michael. I was wondering how what I saw on the internet, photos of unopened cones, turned out to look like what I photographed. I didn't see any seed cones, but now I have a reason to look again.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The only similar conifer in local plantings is Araucaria angustifolia, and that is very rare.

    And not glaucous, at least in the forms seen here.
     
  12. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    I planted an Araucaria angustifolia here about 3-4 years ago. The new growth is a little glaucous but it matures to a healthy, shiny green. A tad more painful to plant than the Cunninghamia!!!
     
  13. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    There aren't any Araucaria angustifolia mentioned in Straley's Trees of Vancouver. It does look a lot more painful in photos. Wikipedia has interesting comments about the use of the A. angustifolia seeds and a great photo of a cross-section of the cone.

    The same Wikipedia article says those have the male and female cones on separate trees. It doesn't say that about Cunninghamia, so I'm assuming I should be looking on the same tree to see a female cone.
     
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, Cunninghamia is monoecious.

    Quite why Cunninghamia ever gets compared with Araucaria spp., is beyond me . . . they don't look at all similar, totally different branching system.
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I wasn't comparing to Araucaria, I was comparing to A. angustifolia. The leaves are similar in shape and presentation, differences in other ways apparent to zealots are often ignored by those with a casual or budding interest focusing on how part of a plant looks. And one difference, perhaps only becoming really evident in specimens more advanced than the extremely few and mostly quite small ones seen here does not obliterate the similarities.
     
  16. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    OK, guys. Cool it. Ron knows I'm capable of confusing everything with everything, so its even helpful to know what I shouldn't confuse it with.

    Michael, thanks for telling me I can still be looking for the female cones on that tree.
     
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    These are the branches that made me pay attention to this Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' last week,
    Cunninghamia-lanceolataGlauca_StanleyPark-RhodyGardenBikePath_Cutler_20210820_154252.jpg Cunninghamia-lanceolataGlauca_StanleyPark-RhodyGardenBikePath_Cutler_20210820_154306.jpg
    and then when I went to post them, I realized that I never posted the seed cones from this tree. The only ones from this year are way up top - you can sort of make them out in the first photo below, in the upper centre, but there were a few old ones low enough to photograph.
    Cunninghamia-lanceolataGlauca_StanleyPark-RhodyGardenBikePath_Cutler_20210827_155027.jpg Cunninghamia-lanceolataGlauca_StanleyPark-RhodyGardenBikePath_Cutler_20210827_155312.jpg
     

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