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CRYPTOMERIA, or JAPANESE CEDAR, a genus of conifers, containing a single species, C. japonica, native of China and Japan, which was introduced into Great Britain by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1844. It is described as one of the finest trees in Japan, reaching a height of too or more feet, usually divested of branches along the lower part of the trunk and crowned with a conical head. The narrow, pointed leaves are spirally arranged and persist for four or five years; the cones are small, globose and borne at the ends of the branchlets, the scales are thickened at the extremity and divided into sharply pointed lobes, three to five seeds are borne on each scale. Cryptomeria is extensively used in Japan for reafforesting denuded lands, as it is a valuable timber tree; it is also planted to form avenues along the public roads. In Veitch's Manual of Conifer ae (ed. 2, 1900, p. 265) reference is made to " an avenue of Cryptomerias 7 m. in extent near Lake Hakone " in which " the trees are more than 100 ft. high, with perfectly straight trunks crowned with conical heads of foliage." Professor C. S. Sargent, in his Forest Flora of Japan, says, " Japan owes much of the beauty of its groves and gardens to the Cryptomeria. Nowhere is there a more solemn and impressive group of trees than that which surrounds the temples and tombs at Nikko where they rise to a height of 100 to 125 ft.; it is a stately tree with no rival except in the sequoias of California." Many curious varieties have been obtained by Japanese horticulturists, including some dwarf shrubby forms not exceeding a few feet in height. When grown in Great Britain Cryptomeria requires a deep, well-drained soil with plenty of moisture, and protection from cold winds.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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