Tree to 20 m, 1.1 m dbh. Bark flaky, light reddish brown. Crown broad, rounded. Leafy branchlets elliptical in outline, 9–19(–24) × 4.5–8(–9.5) cm with leaves held at 45°–80° to axis. Vegetative buds persistent. Leaves with petiole absent or to 0.1 cm long; shiny olive-green or dark green, arranged in two loose ranks, 1.5–4 × 0.25–0.4 cm, linear and straight or slightly falcate, tapering towards apex, midrib prominent on both adaxial and abaxial surfaces, apex cuspidate to mucronate. Abaxial stomata in two white or bluish white bands, each 0.7–1.6 mm wide, separated by the midrib, 19–23(–26) lines of stomata in each band; leaves with prominent margins, 0.1–0.3 mm wide. Male strobili in capitula of six to eight, each strobilus with 7–13 microsporophylls. Capitula in leaf axils along the entire length of the branchlets, globose and 4–4.5 mm diameter, pedunculate; peduncle 4–5 mm long, with at least 10 bracts. Cones produced in axils of terminal buds, solitary or in groups of two to three, peduncle 0.6–1 cm long; aril green when immature, turning red when ripe, 2.2–3 × 1.1–1.2 cm, mature in second year. Seeds obovoid to ellipsoid, often compressed laterally, 2.2–2.8 cm long, apex cuspidate or mucronate. Fu et al. 1999a. Distribution CHINA: Guangdong, Guangxi, southeast Xizang, Yunnan; INDIA: Assam (Khasi, Jaintia, Naga Hills); MYANMAR; THAILAND; VIETNAM. Habitat Mixed conifer-broadleaf forest, particularly in moist, shady ravines at about 1100 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 9 (?). Conservation status Vulnerable. Illustration Fu et al. 1999a, Luu & Thomas 2004. Cross-reference K68.
Cephalotaxus mannii is a species with potential rather than presence in horticulture. It comes from tropical forest in Indochina, at comparatively low altitude and in high rainfall conditions. Nevertheless it grows in northern Vietnam with trees such as Fokienia hodginsii, and there is a chance that collections from higher altitudes and latitudes may be successful in our area (Luu & Thomas 2004). Young trees are said to have a good shape and to be suitable for ornamental use in the species’ homeland, while larger specimens have interesting bark patterns (Luu & Thomas 2004). The only plant known to have been cultivated in our area was a seedling at Quarryhill, from Lam Dong, Vietnam, noted to be very small in 2004, but dead by 2006, having probably been planted in too exposed and hot a site (H. Higson, pers. comm. 2006).