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Chamaecyparis obtusa 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Cupressaceae

Scientific Name: Chamaecyparis obtusa
Species Authority: (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Hinoki Cypress
Synonym(s):
Retinispora obtusa Siebold & Zucc.
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-01-11
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Justification:
Chamaecyparis obtusa's individual varieties have been assessed as Near Threatened in Japan (var. obtusa) and Vulnerable in Taiwan (var. formosana). The Japanese variety is the more widespread and numerous so the species as a whole is also assessed as Near Threatened, on the basis of a population decline which may approach 30%.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Japan: S Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu; Taiwan. Two varieties are recognised: var formosana is endemic to Taiwan while the typical variety is endemic to Japan.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku); Taiwan, Province of China
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):2200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The overall population trend is uncertain: in Taiwan and Japan there has been a significant but unquantified historical decline.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The two varieties of this species occur in different (micro)habitats: C. obtusa var. obtusa is generally occupying more xeric sites on ridges or slopes; C. obtusa var. formosana can form extensive forests in atmospherically damp and often edaphically wet sites. Both occur in mixed conifer/angioserm forests, in which the conifers are mostly emergents and the angiosperms form lower layers of canopy. More specific information is given with the descriptions of each variety
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):25

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The wood of Chamaecyparis obtusa has been used for centuries in construction of temples and other traditional buildings because of its fine quality and high durability in outdoor conditions. The Japanese have largely turned to sources outside Japan to obtain timber of related species, especially those occurring on the Pacific coast of North America. This species is among the most widely used in horticulture and numerous cultivars, obtained in Japan, Europe, the United States and New Zealand, are in the trade. The species is particularly suitable for the clonal propagation of dwarf forms ('tennis ball conifers') with compact growth selected from cuttings from witches brooms; these grow often very slowly and are therefore considered ideal for pot-grown patio plants, rockeries, etc. The number of cultivar names under this species is rapidly outgrowing the capacity to list them and even the most comprehensive register of cultivated conifers, so far compiled and published by the Royal Horticultural Society in England for the names from letters A-J (Leslie 1992), cannot claim to be nearly complete.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is considered as nationally 'not threatened' in Japan but there is disagreement about the assessment of likely rates of decline in the past due to heavy exploitation. In Taiwan, the var. formosana is assessed as Vulnerable.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Protected subpopulations occur in Yuanyang Lake Reserve and Yushan National Park. Plantations have also been established.  A ban on logging is now in effect in both Taiwan and Japan.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Chamaecyparis obtusa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42212A2962056. . Downloaded on 25 February 2017.
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