Cephalotaxus griffithii / Griffith's plum-yew
Cephalotaxus griffithii, as described in 1888 by William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865) in The Flora of British India, 5th edition, is commonly known as Griffith's plum-yew; as well as 西双版纳粗榧 (hai nan cu fei) in the Chinese language. The species name honors William Griffith, a British botanist who collected widely in India and neighboring lands before dying of a tropical disease at the age of 35.
Description. Griffith's plum-yew is an evergreen, coniferous species of tree that grows to mature heights of 65 feet (20 m) tall with a trunk up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter, measured at breast height.
- Bark light to reddish brown in color, flaking off with age.
- Leafy branchlets have an elliptic or oblong-elliptic outline, measuring 3.2 to 7.2 inches (8 - 19 cm) long and 1.8 to 3.2 inches (4.5 - 8 cm) wide, about half as wide as long.
- Leaves are held at 45 to 80° angles to the branchlet axis. Petioles are more-or-less absent to 0.02 (0.5 mm) wide. Leaf blades are dark green or shining olive-green adaxially, with a linear or linear-lanceolate outline, and are usually straight, occasionally slightly falcate and flat. Individual needles measure (0.6 to 1.6 inches (1.5 - 4 cm) long and 0.08 to 0.16 inch (2.5 - 4 mm) wide, with leathery texture. A relatively thin midvein is prominent adaxially; measuring 0.08 to 0.12 inch (0.2 - 0.3 mm) wide. Abaxially, stomatal bands are white or bluish white in color, often indistinct and green when dry because of white powder being shed. The bands measure 0.28 to 0.64 inch (0.7 - 1.6 mm) wide and are comprised of 19 to 23 rows of stomata, 2.5 to 8 time as wide as midvein. Marginal bands measure 0.04 to 0.12 inch (0.1 - 0.3 mm) wide with a very broadly obtuse or obtusely truncate base. Needle apex is cuspidate (with leaf tapered into apex from at least middle, often from base), or abruptly and very shortly mucronate.
- Pollen cones are borne in clusters of 6 to 8, colored pale yellow, with globose shape, measuring 0.16 to 0.18 inch (4 - 4.5) mm in diameter with a 0.16 to 0.2 inch (4 0 5 mm) long peduncle, usually with at least 10 bracts. Microsporophylls number 7 to 13, each with 3 or 4 pollen sacs.
- Seed cones are solitary or borne in clusters of 2 or 3, with a 0.24 to 0.4 inch (6 - 10 mm) long peduncle. Arils are green in color initially, turning red when ripe and measure 0.88 to 1.2 inches (2.2 - 3 cm) long and 0.44 to 0.48 inch (1.1 - 1.2 cm) wide.
- Seeds are obovoid-ellipsoid or obovoid shaped, sometimes laterally compressed, measuring 0.88 to 1.12 inches (2.2 - 2.8 cm), with a shortly mucronate or cuspidate apex.
Attribution from: Flora of China; eFloras.org; http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200005484; assessed 11/5/2018.