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This species was described by Bean (B507, S298) and Krüssmann (K154).
Keteleeria davidiana var. formosana is in cultivation from seed collected in 1992 by Kirkham & Flanagan (ETOT 108) at Pinlin in Taiwan. This area, at 680 m, with about 200 trees growing on sticky reddish loam, is one of only two localities for this endangered endemic taxon. Seedlings from ETOT 108 were distributed relatively widely to arboreta in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but it has failed to establish outside at Kew, and survives there only in the Temperate House.