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Podocarpus macrophyllusis mainly represented in cultivation by the following variety:
There are examples of this species (probably all belonging to var. maki), at Nymans, Sussex; Bicton, Devon; Tregrehan, Cornwall; and Singleton Abbey, Swansea. They range in height from 11 to 17 ft and from 3⁄4 to 1 ft in girth (1979-83).
P. forrestii Craib & W.W. Sm.
Tree to 20 m. Trunk to 0.6 m dbh, bark grey or grey-brown, flaking in small pieces. Branches spreading or ascending, densely spaced, branchlets glabrous to pubescent. Leaves sessile, spirally arranged, glossy dark green above, greyish or pale green below, 1.7–12 × 0.2–1 cm, linear-lanceolate, oblanceolate or oblonglanceolate, somewhat falcate, apex mucronate to acute or acuminate, base cuneate, midrib prominent on the upper surface, less so below. Male strobili axillary, borne on short peduncles in groups of three to five, erect, 3–5 cm long. Female strobili solitary in axils on short peduncles, receptacle red or red-purple when ripe, seed ellipsoid or ovoid, c.10 mm, green. Fu et al. 1999b. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; MYANMAR (?); TAIWAN (?); VIETNAM. Habitat Forests, thickets, between 0 and 1000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Lower Risk. Illustration Fu et al. 1999b. Cross-reference K258.
Podocarpus macrophyllus has long been known to Western horticulture in the form of var. maki from Japan and eastern China, and various selections from this (Bean 1976b, Krüssmann 1985b). The natural distribution of P. macrophyllus is obscured by its popularity in China as a garden or hedging tree, from which selections have also been made, and it is not entirely clear which populations can be regarded as native. Five varieties are recognised by Flora of China (Fu et al. 1999b): var. angusti folius, var. chingii (P. chingianus S.Y. Hu), var. macrophyllus, var. maki and var. piliramulus Z.X. Chen & Z.Q. Li. Farjon’s (2001) treatment of var. maki (Bean, Krüssmann: B282, S387, K258) as P. chinensis (Roxb.) Wall. var. chinensis is now conceded by him to be erroneous (Farjon 2007b). Of these five, two are not in cultivation: the columnar, broader-leaved var. chingii, and var. piliramulus with its darkly pubescent branchlets.
The nominate var. macrophyllus seems to be poorly known in horticulture, but is apparently represented in British collections by material labelled P. forrestii Craib & W.W. Sm. This taxon was sunk into P. macrophyllus by de Laubenfels (1985) and the decision has been upheld by Farjon (2001). Flora of China treats them separately, on the basis that P. forrestii is shrubby and has male strobili in threes, unlike the tree-forming P. macrophyllus which has male strobili in groups of three to five, but notes that P. forrestii may represent a juvenile form of P. macrophyllus. Podocarpus forrestii was named from material collected by George Forrest (F 4665) on ‘the eastern flank of the Tali range’ from a shrub of ‘2–5 feet’; no similar material has been seen since (P. Thomas, pers. comm. 2007). Seed labelled P. forrestii was introduced to the United Kingdom by the Chungtien, Lijiang & Dali Expedition of 1991 (under CLD 1565 and 1566B), and by the Alpine Garden Society Expedition to China, 1994 (under ACE 2543 A and B), all from the same group of cultivated trees up to 15 m tall growing in Dali, Yunnan (P. Thomas, pers. comm. 2007). Material from these collections is in cultivation under glass at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and in the open in Cornwall. Flora of China describes P. forrestii as a shrub of 3–5.5 m, with robust leafy branches. The leaves are shortly petiolate, elliptic to linear-elliptic, 2–9 × 0.6–1 cm, and matt (not glossy) green above. Reproductive parts are smaller than would be expected for P. macrophyllus. More study of wild and cultivated material is indicated. Krüssmann (1985b) notes that var. angustifolius is commonly planted in the United States. This has long narrow leaves, 5–12 × 0.3–0.6 cm, with acuminate or subacute apices, compared to the shorter, broader leaves (0.7–1 cm wide) of var. macrophyllus, and the shorter narrow leaves (1.7–7 × 0.5–0.7 cm) with mucronate, acute or obtuse apices of var. maki, but Farjon (2001) treats it as a synonym of var. macrophyllus.
P. japonicus Hort. Bogor. ex Sieb.
P. chinensis Sw