Oriental tree of life

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Oriental tree of life
Oriental arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis), branch with cones

Oriental arborvitae ( Platycladus orientalis ), branch with cones

Class : Coniferopsida
Order : Conifers (Coniferales)
Family : Cypress family (Cupressaceae)
Subfamily : Cupressoideae
Genre : Platycladus
Type : Oriental tree of life
Scientific name of the  genus
Scientific name of the  species
Platycladus orientalis
( L. ) Franco
Habit of a young oriental arborvitae ( Platycladus orientalis )

The Oriental arborvitae ( Platycladus orientalis ) is the only plant species of the genus Platycladus ; it belongs to the subfamily Cupressoideae in the family of the cypress family (Cupressaceae).


The distribution area of ​​the oriental tree of life extends from Korea to China to eastern Russia . Since the species has long been cultivated in China, nothing is known about its natural distribution within China. These trees thrive at altitudes of 300 to 3300 meters.


The Oriental life tree is an evergreen, to about 20 m high in his home tree , which can reach a trunk diameter of about one meter. In Central Europe, the oriental tree of life only reaches a height of 5 to 10 m. The thin bark is light gray-brownish or red-brown, it comes off in long strips. The crown is oval-conical in young plants and broadly rounded or irregularly shaped in older trees. The branches are branched vertically, fan-shaped in perpendicular, parallel planes. The flaky leaves are 1 to 3 mm long. They are pale green to yellow-green or gray-green of the same color on both sides.

The oriental tree of life is monoecious ( monoecious ). The seed-propagated trees already bear cones at the age of 6 to 8 years. The male, yellowish-green cones are oval and 2 to 3 mm long. The first bluish-green, later red-brown, female cones are almost spherical, only 3 mm in diameter, when ripe they are more oval and about 2 cm in size, they each have 8 to 8 thick, woody cone scales and are located individually the ends of the branches. Two wingless, gray-brown or purple-brown, oval seeds develop per fertile seed scale ; they are 5 to 7 mm long and 3 to 4 mm wide. The pollen count lasts from March to April, and the seeds ripen in October of the same year.

The seedlings have two seed leaves ( cotyledons ).

The oldest known (cultivated) trees are around 1000 years old.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 22.

Systematics and taxonomy

Synonyms for Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco are Biota orientalis (L.) Endl. , Thuja orientalis L. , Platycladus stricta Spach , Thuja chengii Bordères & Gaussen and Thuja orientalis var. Argyi Lemée & H.Lév. The oriental tree of life is very close to the trees of life ( thuja ).

Based on studies of the cone structure and development, a close relationship with the Siberian dwarf tree of life was established


The oriental tree of life was first introduced to Europe in 1690 and described by Carl von Linné in 1753 .


In the home countries and many other countries around the world, the species is often used as an ornamental plant. It is suitable for shaped cuts and year-round opaque hedges , but also forms impressive slender solitary trees . The wood is used in Buddhist temples .


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Ruhr University Bochum: Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco - Morgenländischer Lebensbaum (= Biota orientalis (L.) Endl. = Thuja orientalis L.) ( Memento from March 14, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  2. a b P.A. Schmidt, B. Schulz: Fitschen. Woody flora. 13th edition, Quelle & Meyer Verlag Wiebelsheim, 2017. Page 733. ISBN 978-3-494-01712-9
  3. ^ Tropicos. [1]
  4. Armin Jagel, Thomas Stützel: Investigations on the morphology and morphogenesis of the seed cones of Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco (= Thuja orientalis L.) and Microbiota decussata Kom. (Cupressaceae). Bot. Year syst. Vol. 123, 2001, pp. 337-404.
  5. Armin Jagel, Veit Martin Doerken: Morphology and morphogenesis of the seed cones of the Cupressaceae - part II: Cupressoideae. Bull. CCP 4 (2), 2015, pp. 51–78 ( PDF 7 MB)

Web links

Commons : Oriental Tree of Life  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files