Cephalotaxus argotaenia (Hance) Pilg.
Nageia argotaenia (Hance) Kuntze
Podocarpus argotaenia Hance
Common Name: Catkin Yew
Amentotaxus argotaenia is an evergreen shrub or a small tree with spreading branches; it can grow from 2 - 7 metres tall in China, though specimens in Vietnam are said to reach 30 - 40 metres with a bole 100 - 120cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It is possibly also traded from Vietnam to China. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens and is also being investigated as a potential source of anti-cancer drugs.
Despite the wide distribution of the type variety of Amentotaxus argotaenia, the species is in danger of extinction due to a similarly widespread reduction and deterioration of its habitat. In such cases, there is no direct evidence of decline but this is inferred from circumstantial evidence. When forests on more accessible mountain slopes have been and are being degraded or even removed to make way for agriculture, this tree will have gone with its habitat from those localities. An assessment of deforestation will amount to an inferred assessment of the status of a forest species. The status of this widely occurring forest species is also affected by slow growth rates, infrequent regeneration, poor seed dispersal and predation by rats. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
E. Asia - central and southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
A plant of the mid canopy, growing in montane forests, in ravines, on steep slopes or cliffs, on summits and ridges, on a variety of soil types, including limestone, sandstone, shale and granite; at elevations from 600 - 1,500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|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 argotaenia is able to withstand some frost, tolerating occasional, short-lived temperatures falling to between -6.6°c and -1.1°c[
]. In Vietnam (the more tropical part of its range) the tree grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 17 - 21°c and annual rainfall exceeds 1,700mm[
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[
This species is in cultivation in China and was introduced to Europe from Hong Kong; it makes an attractive foliage shrub but only grows outside in warmer regions. This (and other) species is rare in gardens due to poor availability in the horticultural trade. In China it is used as a bonzai plant[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Recent investigations have been undertaken to analyse the plant's (leaves and stems) potential for anti-cancer drugs similar to those found in Taxus[
The seeds have a high oil content[
]. No uses are given for this oil.
The wood is used for tool making, furniture and wood turning (handicrafts)[
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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