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5 September

Sciadopitys verticillata 
Sciadopitys verticillata, or Japanese Umbrella-pine, is a unique conifer endemic to Japan. It is the sole member of the family Sciadopityaceae and genus Sciadopitys, a living fossil with no close relatives, known in the fossil record for about 230 million years. Its genus name comes from the Greek prefix sciado - meaning "shadow" and pitys, meaning "pine"; the specific epithet means "with whorls". It is an evergreen tree that can grow 15-27m tall, with brown main shoots bearing whorls of 7–12 cm long flexible green cladodes that look like, and perform the function of, leaves but are actually composed of stem tissues; occasionally, a cladode will be forked and produce a bud in the 'v' of the fork. The cones are 6–11 cm long, mature in about 18 months, and have flattish scales that open to release the seeds.


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