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CUNNINGHAMIA lanceolata 'Samurai'

Image of Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Samurai'

James Burghardt

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CUNNINGHAMIA lanceolata 'Samurai'

Plant Common Name

China Fir, Samurai China Fir

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A muscular evergreen conifer, China fir's needled branches are slightly drooping and bear greenish brown cones. Native to China, it has string-like corky bark that is sandy sienna-brown. The mature habit is an upright shape that is rounded to pyramid-like. It is a close relative of the giant redwood (Sequoia).

The dark green glossy needles are narrow and prickly, individually they are lance-shaped with white stripes on their undersides. On the branches the needles lay in a flattened, horizontal plane so they appear somewhat feathery overall. Female and male cones appear in different branches on this tree in early summer. Only the female cones become ornamental green-brown cones that resemble small pendent artichokes. Needles that die tend to cling on the branches, especially in arid regions.

Grow China fir in any moist soil with good drainage and position it so it is sheltered from drying winds. It is quite drought and heat tolerant. To form a specimen tree, select one trunk on young plants and allow that to become the central leader. This plant can be pruned back and allowed to rejuvenate with multiple trunks and dense foliage. It is most beautiful if given ample space to attain an upright, pyramidal tree in the lawn. Lowest branches can be removed to gain visual access to the interesing bark. Selection 'Glauca' has prettier bluish green needles.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    35'-70' / 10.7m - 21.3m

  • Width

    16'-30' / 4.9m - 9.1m

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No