A tree up to 80 ft high in the wild with a trunk 6 ft in girth; young shoots downy; winter buds not resinous. Leaves crowded above and spreading outwards from the twigs; 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄16 in. wide; slightly notched at the rounded apex; faintly lined beneath with stomatic bands. Cones violet-purple, cylindrical, 2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 1 in. wide, the bracts two-thirds as long as the scales, only the thread-like tip exposed and pointing upwards.
Native of Manchuria, Korea, and N. China, originally described by Trautvetter as a variety of A. sibirica from specimens collected in the region of the Amur River. Wilson found it in Korea and Purdom in the province of Shan-si, N. China. It is evidently nearly related to A. sibirica and is considered by Wilson and Rehder to be the eastern Asiatic form of that species. It is rare in cultivation and of little ornamental value, but represented at Westonbirt, Glos. and a few other collections. Introduced in 1908.
f. chlorocarpa Wils. – A form with green cones, introduced by Wilson.
A. sibirica Ledeb. – Native of Russia, where it covers vast tracts, from the Urals almost to the Pacific and from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Central Asia. It was introduced in 1820 but, like so many trees adapted to very harsh climates, it does not thrive in this country and no examples of any note have been found. It differs from A. nephrolepis in its smooth bark, more downy shoots, and in the shorter cone-bracts, which are concealed by the scales. For another close ally, see A. sachalinensis.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
Only three trees have been measured over 3 ft in girth: Stourhead, Wilts., 77 × 33⁄4 ft, of thin habit, (1977); Dawyck, Peebl., in Shaw's Brae, 39 × 33⁄4 ft (1974); Balmoral Castle, Aberd., pl. 1929, 40 × 31⁄4 ft (1980)
A. sibirica – There is a fine tree of this species at Tannadyce, Angus, measuring 44 × 23⁄4 ft (1981) and another slightly smaller at Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Eire.