Saxegothaea conspicua Lindl.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Saxegothaea conspicua' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-02-24.


Other taxa in genus


    (pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
    Term used here primarily to indicate the seed-bearing (female) structure of a conifer (‘conifer’ = ‘cone-producer’); otherwise known as a strobilus. A number of flowering plants produce cone-like seed-bearing structures including Betulaceae and Casuarinaceae.
    Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
    globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
    Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.


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    Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

    Recommended citation
    'Saxegothaea conspicua' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-02-24.

    An evergreen tree up to 80 ft high in the wild, with the aspect of a small-leaved yew; branches drooping; branchlets usually in whorls; bark of trunk peeling. Leaves linear or linear-lanceolate, 12 to 118 in. long, 110 in. wide, abruptly narrowed at the base to a short stalk; tapered more gradually at the apex to a very fine point, dull dark green above, with two comparatively broad, glaucous bands of stomata beneath. Male and female flowers on the same plant; the former in shortly stalked, cylindrical spikes 14 in. long, produced in a cluster near the end of the shoot. The fruit is a small cone, solitary at the end of the twigs, globose in the main, 12 in. diameter; the scales terminating in a broad, flattened, spine-like point. Bot. Mag., t. 8664.

    Native of Chile from 35° to 45° S, commonest in the Lake region, where it occurs in Nothofagus dombeyi forest and in the stands of Fitzroya cupressoides; it is also found in Argentina in the region of Lake Nahuel Huapi. It was introduced to Britain by William Lobb for Messrs Veitch, but has never become common. Even in the wild it is a slow-growing tree, so it is not surprising that no large specimens are known in this country. By far the finest is a tree at Woodhouse, Lyme Regis, measuring 55 × 514 ft (1970); and there are two trees at Kilmacurragh in Eire, both about 40 ft high and 434 and 414 ft in girth (1966). The following smaller specimens have been measured recently in the south of England: Wakehurst Place, Sussex, pl. 1914, 29 × 2 ft (1969); Leonardslee, Sussex, 36 × 214 ft (1969); National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, pl. 1925, 23 × 112 ft (1969); Killerton, Devon, 26 × 112 ft (1970).

    From the Supplement (Vol. V)

    specimens: National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, pl. 1925, 26 × 2 + 134 ft (1978); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, pl. 1914, 34 × 23 ft (1979); Leonardslee, Sussex, 43 × 23 ft (1984); Woodhouse, Lyme Regis, Dorset, 60 × 534 ft (1982); Killerton, Devon, 43 × 2 ft (1985); Castlewellan, Co. Down, 44 × 6 ft at 3 ft (1982); Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 46 × 514 ft and 60 × 5 ft (1980).

    'Ray Wood'

    In 1975 a seedling Saxegothaea conspicua received from the University of Hull was planted at “6/9 inches” in the then very recently created garden in Ray Wood, Castle Howard, by James Russell. It has grown steadily into an extraordinary weeping tree, now 5 m tall but much broader, with multiple stems from the base and forming a dense mass of growth that fools almost everyone who sees it. Side branches bear whorls of shoots forming tufts along the length of the stems, giving an effect that almost suggest they’ve been shaped.

    It has been propagated by (among others) Pan Global Plants, under the name ‘Ray Wood’, from c. 2015, but although listed by that nursery online the cultivar name has not yet been formally published (N. Macer, pers. comm. 2022). Nick Macer reports that it is difficult to grow and is susceptible to Phytophthora in pots as a young plant.