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Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadoitys verticella)

Japanese Umbrella Pine Needles Japanese Umbrella Pine Bark An interesting tree in the Arboretum's Dwarf and Unusual Conifer Collection is the Japanese Umbrella Pine. Its common name comes from the long green, needle-like "leaves" that occur in whorls resembling the spokes of an umbrella. These photosynthetic "leaves" have been interpreted as actually being stem tissue rather than leaf tissue and are referred to as cladodes. They persist for 3 years. The true leaves are small brown, scale-like structures found along the shoot between the whorls of green cladodes and also tightly clustered around the bases of the cladodes. This slow-growing tree can reach a height of 20-30 feet. Its reddish-brown bark peels off in strips.

Japanese Umbrella Pine In its native Japan, Japanese Umbrella Pine grows in cool, moist, mountainous environments and the wood is used for building boats. Several cultivars have been developed as unusual landscape trees. Japanese Umbrella Tree produces a latex-like sap which has been shown to have antibacterial properties against some human pathogens and soil bacteria. As the sole member of the plant family Sciadopityaceae, the Japanese Umbrella Pine is known from the fossil record as far back as 230 million years. Recent research has suggested that fossil members of this family were the source of Baltic Amber.

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