The tallest tree on the Asian continent is the Taiwania, a member of the cypress family Cupressaceae, that is also known as the Formosan redwood. This giant exceeds 250 feet in the mountains of Taiwan, the island from which it gets its name, though its range also extends to much of east and southeast Asia. Not surprisingly, it is related to the giant sequoias and coast redwoods of North America and the genus Taiwania, consists of the single species cryptomerioides. The sharp needles are, in arrangement, similar to a Cryptomeria, and the wood is soft and aromatic like a Cunninghamia. This massive conifer was only introduced to the west as recently as 1910 by legendary plant hunter Ernest 'Chinese' Wilson and a large specimen is thriving at Kew, near London. All of this makes for an interesting botanical acquisition for plant connoisseurs, however, a Taiwania is also a stunning ornamental worthy of a prominent site in any garden. It has beautiful new foliage of a bright grass-green, with heavy horizontal branches that have a bold upward sweep and a conical crown. The form is exquisite and very distinctive. Being evergreen, it could serve as a screen or barrier as well as a dominant specimen. And the soaring heights the tree reaches in the Asian forests are not found in the cultivated trees where heights of 50 feet are more typical and slowly achieved. The bark is grey-brown and peels in strips and the cones are small. It would prefer well-drained, acidic soil, and full sun and will thrive across most of the southern half of the US, most of the UK, New Zealand and temperate Australia.



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