Platycladus orientalis, or ce bai
Platycladus orientalis, or ce bai
Platycladus orientalis, or ce bai
Platycladus orientalis, or ce bai
Flora Fauna Farm

Platycladus orientalis, or ce bai

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This is an extremely long-lived and hearty evergreen originally from the cold, dry climate of northwest China. The foliage is very similar to the more common arborvitae, yet the form of the plant is a tree, rather than a shrub.

References to it as a medicine are found in the practices of ancient Taoist alchemy. Some of the larger specimens planted around Buddhist temples in China are said to be in excess of 1,000 years old, where it is called ce bai (側柏).

This tree is the sole species in the genus Platycladus, a distinct genus of evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae.

You can see large specimens of this tree at our home-farm, and in our neighborhood as well as at the Los Lunas Agricultural Experiment Station, where has been planted long ago to great effect as a wind/dust break.

Birds love to eat the seeds of the open cones all winter, beginning in fall.