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More Information About Cephalotaxus

The genus Cephalotaxus is a small genus of Asian gymnosperms (conifers) with just 11 species in it. Like most conifers, cephalotaxus produces needle-like leaves and small cones (strobili) instead of flowers. If you have ever seen a cephalotaxus cone, it is pretty un-cone-like because the entire cone is wrapped inside a leathery/fleshy covering that looks more like some sort of bizarre olive or small plum. Cephalotaxus are fairly common conifers found in gardens all over the world. In addition to their use in the landscape, cephalotaxus are useful as timber trees and as sources of anticancer medications.

The most commonly used species in the western world is the Japanese species, Cephalotaxus harringtonia, which has been in cultivation since the mid-1800s. Today there are a half-dozen cultivars and another 5 or so subspecies that vary from the normal 20' wild types. The cultivars vary by being dwarf, fastigate (upright), prostrate, and may have yellow foliage or a combination of the above. Cephalotaxus prefers shady conditions and consistently moist soils, but can tolerate sunny sites if soil and water are perfect. Cephalotaxus makes a great specimen or hedge shrub, and the prostrate forms make good groundcovers. When you are ready to buy cephalotaxus for your garden or home, we hope you'll check out our online list of cephalotaxus for sale.