November 13, 2019

A Garden Dinosaur

Sciadopitys verticillata - Japanese umbrella pine

Janine Pineo Photo - Sciadopitys verticillata - Japanese umbrella pine

Sciadopitys verticillata may be a mouthful, so let’s call it Japanese umbrella pine instead. This wee specimen was on display at the Bangor Garden Show a few years back and is deceptively small, as most trees are in their youth. The tree is likely hardy to Zone 4, grows slowly and lives long, reaching 70 feet in height at maturity if you just let it grow. The really neat thing about this pine, which isn’t even a pine, is that it is considered a “living relic” that predates the dinosaurs. The Japanese native is a genus of one species, and its name comes from how the whorls of leaves look like the spokes of an umbrella. Which, if you think about it, could only have gotten its name recently – relatively speaking – since umbrellas are a “new” invention and this tree has been around for millions of years.