T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cunninghamia konishii (Taiwan fir.)

Kingdom:   Plantae
Division:    Pinophyta
Class:        Pinopsida
Order:       Pinales
Family:      Cupressaceae
Genus:      Cunninghamia
Species:  Cunninghamia konishii
Common names: Taiwan fir.

The genus Cunninghamia is traditionally said to contain two similar species, and C. konishii and Cunninghamia lanceolata, often referred to as the Taiwan fir and China fir respectively. C. lanceolata occurs in mainland China, Vietnam, and Laos, whereas C. konishii is restricted to Taiwan.  However, molecular genetic evidence is suggesting that they are the same species, and that C. konishii of Taiwan derived from multiple colonizations from the mainland. However, there is no consensus yet as to whether the two species should be combined.
Cunninghamia konishii is a fast growing tree whose crown is narrowly pyramidal. As the tree grows its trunk tends to sucker around the base, particularly following damage to the stem or roots, and it then may grow in a multi-trunked form.
The leaves are linear-lanceolate, sharp-pointed, more or less spirally arranged, and shining.
The cones are 3–4 cm long, roundish ovate, with greatly reduced seeds; they mature in the first year and do not fall off the tree. The seeds are narrowly winged.
Cunninghamia konishil is a fast growing tree that is disjunctly distributed in Taiwan and along part of the border between Lao PDR and Việt Nam.  In the recent past it has been heavily exploited by logging throughout most parts of its range. In Taiwan this species occurs in the cool temperate coniferous forest belt at altitudes ranging from 900 and 2200 metres above sea-level. It is a valuable timber species due to its relatively fast growth and long straight bole. The timber is mainly used for house construction as it is durable and termite resistant.

Photographed at Burgess Park, New Plymouth.


Photo showing a multi-trunked tree.




A growing branch tip.


Male cones.


Close up of amale cone.


New female cone.


A mature female cone.


An open female cone.


The stringy trunk.