An evergreen tree described by its discoverer as ‘grand et superbe’ in the wild state; young shoots brown, minutely downy; winter buds brown, non-resinous. Leaves mostly in two opposite rows, notched at the end, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄16 to 1⁄12 wide, furrowed above, with two whitish bands of stomata beneath. Cones 13⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. long, 1 to 11⁄4 in. wide; the bracts reflexed, three-lobed, the middle lobe 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long, the side ones shorter.
Native of south-west and eastern-central China; discovered by the French missionary Maire in N.E. Yunnan, growing on limestone at 8,500 ft elevation; introduced by him in 1912 to Chenault’s nursery, Orleans. More recently it has been found farther to the north-east, in Anhwei and Chekiang, and also in Szechwan. Plants were imported into Britain from Chenault in the 1920s, but they proved to be very sensitive to spring frosts and most of them were killed while still young.