Biota aurea (Carrière) K.Koch
Biota chengii (Bordères & Gaussen) Bordères & Gaussen
Biota coraeana Siebold ex Gordon
Biota defresneana C.Van Geert ex K.Koch
Biota delicatissima Dallière
Biota dumosa Carrière
Biota elegantissima Beissn.
Biota ericoides Carrière
Biota excelsa Gordon
Biota falcata Lindl.
Biota fortunei Carrière
Biota freneloides Gordon
Biota funiculata Gordon
Biota glauca Carrière
Biota gracilifolia Knight
Biota intermedia Gordon
Biota japonica Siebold ex Gordon
Biota macrocarpa R.Sm.
Biota meldensis M.A.Lawson ex Gordon
Biota nepalensis Endl. ex Gordon
Biota orientalis (L.) Endl.
Biota pendula intermedia Gordon
Biota pendula recurvata Gordon
Biota prostrata Gordon
Biota pyramidalis Carrière
Biota semperaurea Mast. & T.Moore
Biota semperaurescens (Lemoine ex Gordon) Beissn.
Biota stricta (Spach) Lindl. & Gordon
Biota tatarica Lindl. & Gordon
Biota variegata Gordon
Biota wareana Gordon
Biota zuccarinii Siebold ex Carrière
Chamaecyparis decussata Carrière
Chamaecyparis glauca Carrière
Cupressus filiformis Beissn.
Cupressus thuja O.Targ.Tozz.
Cupressus thuya O.Targ.Tozz.
Juniperus ericoides Carrière
Platycladus chengii (Bordères & Gaussen) A.V.Bobrov
Platycladus stricta Spach
Retinispora decurvata Carrière
Retinispora decussata Gordon
Retinispora ericoides Zucc. ex Gordon
Retinispora flavescens Beissn.
Retinispora glauca Mast.
Retinispora juniperoides Carrière
Retinispora recurvata Mast.
Retinispora rigida Carrière
Thuja acuta Moench
Thuja antarctica Gordon
Thuja argentea Carrière
Thuja aurea Carrière
Thuja australis Ten.
Thuja decora Salisb.
Thuja defresneana C.Van Geert ex K.Koch
Thuja dumosa Gordon
Thuja elegantissima Gordon
Thuja ericoides Carrière
Thuja expansa Laws. ex K.Koch
Thuja falcata (Lindl.) Veitch
Thuja filiformis Lodd. ex Lindl.
Thuja flagelliformis (Jacques) C.Lawson
Thuja fortunei Carrière
Thuja freneloides Carrière
Thuja funiculata Gordon
Thuja glauca Carrière
Thuja gracilifolia Knight ex Parl.
Thuja hybrida Carrière
Thuja intermedia Gordon
Thuja meldensis Quetier
Thuja minor Paul ex Gordon
Thuja monstrosa Gordon
Thuja nepalensis Lodd. ex Carrière
Thuja orientalis L.
Thuja pygmaea Hovey
Thuja pyramidalis Ten.
Thuja pyramidalis stricta (Rehder) Rehder.
Thuja semperaurea auct.
Thuja semperaurescens K.Koch
Thuja stricta Gordon
Thuja taillandieri Van Geert
Thuja tatarica Lodd. ex G.Don
Thuja verschaffeltii Verschaff.
Thuja zuccariniana Voss
Widdringtonia glauca (Carrière) Carrière
Common Name: Biota
Platycladus orientalis is a much-branched, evergreen tree with a conical crown when young, becoming broadly rounded or irregular when old; it can grow 20 metres or more tall. The striaght, cylindrical bole can be 100cm or more in diameter[
A commonly used medicinal herb in China, where the plant is harvested from the wild and also cultivated. The plant is also valued for its wood and is often grown as an ornamental, where it can be used to make a hedge.This is also one of the most commonly planted amenity and ornamental conifers, a tradition that goes back many centuries. It is therefore a common tree in parks of towns and cities in much of temperate Asia[
This is possibly the most widely introduced cupressaceous conifer in Asia. In many areas inside and outside China it has 'escaped' from cultivation and established spontaneous populations. It is therefore very difficult to establish its natural range but it is likely to be native only in parts of the listed provinces and in a restricted area in Korea and adjacent Russia. The original extent of occurrence of this species, before people planted them everywhere, is much smaller but difficult to establish. From what we know it is likely that mature trees in natural forests are quite rare. The situation in Russia is unknown. Exploitation for timber of larger trees in its natural habitat has caused a decline in the number of mature individuals. How much this has impacted on the total population is difficult to establish due to uncertainty about its natural distribution. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
In some parts of China (e.g. Yunnan) and in other countries (e.g. Iran) it has probably been naturalized[
The essential oil in this plant contains thujone. Thujone is a GABA receptor antagonist which allows neurons to fire more easily. In larger doses this can cause muscle spasms and convulsions, and can also be toxic to brain, kidney, and liver cells.
There has been a lot of negative press regarding thujone, particularly in the mid 19th century when thujone was reported to be more dangerous than alcohol - since shown to be exaggerated; and reports in the 1970’s that it might have a similar effect on the brain to THC (found in cannabis) – since found to be incorrect.
Thujone is probably best known for its use in the alcoholic drink ‘Absinthe’. It is also found in the essential oils of many other plants that are used in herbal medicines and foods, including Arborvitae (Thuja species), some Junipers (Juniperus species), Wormwoods (especially Artemisia absinthium) and Sage (Salvia officinalis). There are some legal restrictions in various countries on the quantity of thujone that can be added to foods and drinks and these vary between countries.
Side effects from consuming thujone can include sleeplessness and anxiety but, unless the pure essential oil is used, the quantity of thujone found in plants is well within safety levels. Pregnant women, however, may be advised to restrict their use of thujone-containing plants.
The leaves are toxic if eaten[
]. The plant can also cause skin allergies in sensitive people[
E. Asia - Russian Far East, central China, Korea
Steep dry rocky valley slopes; at elevations from 300 - 3,300 metres[
]. Found in the transitional open woodland zone, almost invariably in secondary vegetation or, nearest to its original habitat, in more or less degraded woodland and forest[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Platycladus orientalis grows best in areas with a more continental climate of hot summers and cold winters. It often does not grow well in mild and moist maritime climates. In Britain, the best specimens are to be found in towns or cities away from the west of the country, such as Oxford, and in very sharply drained soils in gardens[
Prefers a moist loamy soil[
]. Grows best on dry freely draining sites, often alkaline in reaction[
]. Does well over old building rubble[
]. Tolerant of dry dusty sites and of atmospheric pollution in towns[
]. Prefers a sunny sheltered position[
]. The plant appears to be tolerant of drought, as well as the air pollution that occurs within the urban environment[
A substantial number of cultivars has been raised in Europe since its introduction to France around 1700, many of which are now obsolete, while new cultivars continue to be selected and described[
There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value.
Produces seed freely in cultivation[
A slow growing tree[
Plants cannot regenerate from old wood. Pruning is not normally necessary for this species, any pruning that is carried out should be done with care[
Plants are susceptible to attacks by honey fungus[
Plants are monoecious, male catkins being produced at the tips of branches and female cones at the base[
This tree is a favourite with Taoists, Buddhist and Confucian priests, which accounts for its wide spread cultivation. The fresh boughs are sold to worshippers at shrines and temples. Where Platycladus orientalis is abundant, monasteries and temples are never far away[
Seed - after removing the bitterness[
]. No more details are given, but the bitterness in seeds is usually removed either by leaching them in water or by thoroughly cooking them[
This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[
]. Both the leaves and the seeds contain an essential oil consisting of borneol, bornyl acetate, thujone, camphor and sesquiterpenes[
]. The leaves also contain rhodoxanthin, amentoflavone, quercetin, myricetin, carotene, xanthophyll and ascorbic acid[
The leaves are antibacterial, antipyretic, antitussive, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, haemostatic, refrigerant and stomachic[
]. Their use is said to improve the growth of hair[
]. They are used internally in the treatment of coughs, haemorrhages, excessive menstruation, bronchitis, asthma, skin infections, mumps, bacterial dysentery, arthritic pain and premature baldness[
The leaves are harvested for use as required and can be used either fresh or dried[
This remedy should not be prescribed to pregnant women[
The seed is aperient, lenitive and sedative[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of palpitations, insomnia, nervous disorders and constipation in the elderly[
The root bark is used in the treatment of burns and scalds[
The stems are used in the treatment of coughs, colds, dysentery, rheumatism and parasitic skin diseases[
The tree is being used in afforestation schemes in northeastern China, especially on deforested hills and mountains[
]. As a pioneer of relatively dry, open vegetation on often unstable slopes, this species has found abundant opportunity over much of China, and even beyond (e.g. NE Iran), to establish itself and spread after introduction. It is much used in afforestation in NE and Central China and commonly planted in Central Asia[
]. A long-lived species, it generally remains as other trees become established[
Tolerant of regular trimming, though not into old wood, the plant can be grown as a dense hedge[
A yellow dye is obtained from the young branches[
An essential oil can be obtained from the leaves and the seeds[
The foliage is in some parts of China is much used for incense burning, to which purpose the species has been introduced widely outside its natural range[
The wood is durable in the soil, moderately hard, rather coarse grained, light in weight, soft, brittle. Used for construction, cabinet making, cooperage[
The wood is used for building and construction of houses and temples in areas where there are still trees of good size left[
Seed - best sown when ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed germinates best if given a short cold stratification. It can then be sown in a cold frame in late winter. Plants make very little growth in their first year[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
If there is sufficient seed it is worthwhile trying a sowing in an outdoor seed bed in mid spring[
]. Grow the plants on for at least two years before planting them out in the winter.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, mid summer in a shaded frame. Forms roots by the end of September but should be overwintered in a frame[
Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September in a cold frame. Forms roots in the following summer. Plant out in autumn or spring[