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Athrotaxis cupressoides - Growing Guide
Growing Athrotaxis cupressoides
Tasmanian cedar, Pencil pine
This is a small growing but very beautiful tree whose cord like branchlets and flattened scale-like leaves are spirally arranged and resemble those of both Thujopsis dolbrata and Cryptomeria japonica. A. cupressoides is also related to the Sequoias of North America.
These trees grow in the mountains of western Tasmania and therefore prefer high rainfall and cool humid summers. They grow well in sheltered positions in Cornwall and western Ireland but there are good specimens at Nymans, Leonardslee and Bedgebury Arboretum in Sussex. The bark in maturity is attractive with reddish-brown fissures similar to Cryptomeria.
Male and female stroboli or flower catkins are produced on the same tree. Single bright green rounded cones appear in summer and hang down from the branchlets. These are less than 1in long and turn orange-yellow and then brown as they ripen.
This conifer grows to about 30ft with us and is perfectly hardy. Seed can be sown in containers when ripe in the cold frame. However the plant roots easily from cuttings taken in the autumn and rooted with bottom heat.