This species was described by Bean (B507, S298) and Krüssmann (K154).
This variety differs from the type in that the shoots are glabrous, the leaf scars protrude noticeably from the branchlets, and the leaf apex is acute or obtuse, rather than truncate or emarginate. The cones are shorter, the bract scales are spathulate and contracted above the midpoint, and the seed is narrower than in the type. Hayata 1914, Farjon 1989, Fu et al. 1999c. Distribution TAIWAN. Habitat Mixed mesophytic forest between 300 and 900 m asl. In northern Taiwan, var. formosana occurs in small groups or as isolated individuals on steep ridge crests. It survives coppicing. USDA Hardiness Zone 9. Conservation status Endangered. Illustration Li & Keng 1994a, Fu et al. 1999c, Flanagan & Kirkham 2005; NT426. Cross-reference 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.