Nothotsuga longibracteata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Nothotsuga longibracteata
Species Authority: (W.C.Cheng) Hu ex C.N.Page
Common Name(s):
English Bristlecone Hemlock
Tsuga longibracteata W.C.Cheng
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon was first described as a species of Tsuga by the well-known Chinese botanist W.C. Cheng in 1932. Hu (1951) proposed a separate genus Nothotsuga for this species, but failed to give a Latin description; the genus name was then validated by Page (1989). French botanists in the 'School of Gaussen' at Toulouse proposed a generic hybrid origin between Keteleeria and Tsuga, but gave no evidence for this and applied an illegitimate name. Chinese botanists (e.g. Flora of China 4: 39-40, 1999) do not recognize its status as a distinct genus, but there are several distinctive characters in both male and female cones not shared by other species of Tsuga in Asia or North America that appear to justify generic recognition. Its phylogenetic position based on both morphological and DNA data confirms this taxonomy. Despite its name, there is no evidence that this taxon is of hybrid origin.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-15
Assessor(s): Farjon, A., Christian, T. & Zhang, D
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Nothotsuga longibracteata has a narrow ecological niche and a scattered, fragmented distribution. Past logging and general deforestation has had an impact on this naturally rare species and it is likely that this reduction is close to the thresholds for listing as threatened (under criterion A2cd). An assessment of Near Threatened reflects this past reduction and highlights the need for continued monitoring and the enforcement of logging regulations.
1998 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to China: S Fujian, N Guangdong, NE Guangxi, NE Guizhou, SW Hunan, and SE Jiangxi.
China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Highly fragmented. Scattered individuals occur in undisturbed forests.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Nothotsuga longibracteata occurs on low to medium high mountains, at elevations between 300 and 2,300(-3,200) m a.s.l. It grows on both red and yellow earth. The climate is humid and warm-temperate to wet and cool, with annual precipitation between 1,000-2,000 mm. The species occurs in two forest formations (Wang 1961). In the evergreen broad-leaved forest formation mostly with sclerophyllous broad-leaved trees such as Castanopsis spp., Lithocarpus spp., Quercus spp., and with Fokienia hodginsii; in the deciduous mixed mesophytic forest at higher elevations with Fagus longipetiolata, Tetracentron sinensis, Nyssa sinensis, Acer angustilobium, Davidia involucrata, Sorbus spp., etc. In the evergreen broad-leaved forest formation there are stands of pure Nothotsuga longibracteata and Tsuga chinensis. Pinus massoniana or P. fenzeliana (syn. P. kwangtungensis) locally dominate the general canopy of broad-leaved trees on poorer sites, where N. longibracteata is also concentrated.The ecological niche of this species is considered to be very narrow.

Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In China this species is considered to be a desirable forest tree suitable for afforestation. Its use as a timber tree must be limited due to its rarity. It is not in general cultivation outside China and rare in botanical collections. A few plants of this species are in cultivation at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and elsewhere, though it has proved to be very slow growing and quite difficult to grow well.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species was considered to be Endangered, because it is very rare despite its relatively wide distribution. Large scale logging has depleted the number of trees to an unquantified extent (Fu and Jin 1992) and substantial parts of forest where this species could have occurred have gone, especially at lower elevations. Logging has largely ceased and no specific current threats have been identified.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Several populations of this species occur within protected areas, but other populations are situated outside such reserves. The Chinese Government has issued a logging ban effective in the remaining native forests, which should benefit this species.

Bibliography [top]

Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008) In Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK. Available at:

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Fu, L.K. and Jin, J.M. 1992. China Plant Red Data Book – Rare and Endangered Plants 1. Science Press, Beijing.

Hu, H.H. 1951. Lecture material on the Classification of Seed Plants [in Chinese].

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Page, C.N. 1989. New and maintained genera in the Conifer families Podocarpaceae and Pinaceae. Notes of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 45(2): 377-395.

Wang, C.W. 1961. The forests of China with a survey of grassland and desert vegetation. Maria Moors Cabot Foundation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Wu, Z. and Raven, P.H. (eds). 1999. Flora of China: Vol.4. Cycadaceae through Fagaceae. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis).

Ying, T.S., Chen, M.L. and Chang, H.C. 2003. Atlas of the Gymnosperms of China. China Science & Technology Press, Beijing.

Citation: Farjon, A., Christian, T. & Zhang, D 2013. Nothotsuga longibracteata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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