This species was formerly not recognized as being distinct from Amentotaxus argotaenia, and many earlier accounts of the flora of Taiwan refer to it under this name[
Amentotaxus yunnanensis formosana (H.L.Li) Silba
Common Name: Taiwan Catkin Yew
Amentotaxus formosana is an evergreen tree with a sparsely-branched crown; it can grow up to 10 metres tall. The bole can be 30cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Until recently, the greatest threat to it appears to have been be conversion of native mixed evergreen forest to plantations with primarily Cryptomeria japonica. The declaration of a specific conservation area for this species within a larger reserve has reduced this threat. Stochastic events such as cyclones and landslides are additional threats, especially considering the small population size and limited distribution. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
E. Asia - Taiwan
An understorey tree in montane evergreen tropical rainforest and broad-leaved subtropical forest, usually found on steep slopes, in ravines, or on cliffs; at elevations from 900 - 1,300 metres, occasionally descending to 500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Amentotaxus species are generally natives of warm temperate, subtropical and tropical forested areas in east Asia. Most are tolerant of some frost, but only if there has first been a hot summer to fully ripen the wood. They therefore usually only succeed outdoors in warm temperate to tropical areas[
]. Amentotaxus formosana grows in the subtropical forests of Taiwan where the average annual temperature is 16°c, ranging from 10°c in the coldest month to 20°c in the warmest. Annual rainfall is 2,500 - 3,000 mm, the summer is wet and the winters are also damp, producing a perennially warm and humid climate[
]. Plants can tolerate some frost, withstanding short-lived temperatures falling as low as between -6.6°c and -1.1°c[
Succeeds in fairly dense shade when young but becoming more tolerant of full sun as it grows larger[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils, preferring one that is well-drained, moist and sandy[
]. Usually found in the wild on soils derived from sandstone and shale[
This species is in cultivation as an ornamental tree in China, Japan and Taiwan, but very rare and only seen in some botanic gardens elsewhere. Its broad, white bands of stomata are very striking, although normally hidden from view on the underside of leaves. Lack of commercially available cuttings or seed has prevented this species from being grown more widely; it is obviously not suitable for climates with winter frost[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The leaves and stems of various species in this genus are being investigated as a potential source of compounds used in anti-cancer drugs[
The wood, though of small dimensions, is valued and used for the making of furniture, farm implements, tools and utensils, and wood turning for souvenirs[
Seed - can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years[
]. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time[
]. Harvesting the seed 'green' (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early[
]. Seed voided by birds after they have eaten the fruit tends to germinate well, so scarifying the seed prior to sowing might be useful. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on until large enough to plant out, which can take more than 12 months.
Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, in a shaded frame. Should root within 8 weeks. High percentage[
Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in the dormant season, in a shaded frame[
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