Thursday, January 6, 2011

Glyptostrobus pensilis--Chinese Water Pine

Stunning fall foliage currently dominating view near the main bridge at the UC Botanical Garden. The Chinese Water Pine is deciduous and grows in wet places near ponds and streams. It is nearly extinct because people cut many down to use in cabinets, art and musical instruments. The wood is aromatic, fine textured, resistant to insects and easy to work. The soft buoyant roots are used in the same way cork is used: for bottle stoppers, It can still be found near rice paddies, where it is used to stabilize the banks.

This is one of those odd deciduous conifers. I always think of conifers as evergreens, and at first I was worried that this specimen was in trouble. But no!! It is just going through its normal yearly cycle of leaf drop. Yay!

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