Notestein's Nursery

3701 NW 17th Street
Gainesville, FL 32605

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The China Fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata)

China Fir is not actually a member of the Fir family. It is related to cypress, redwood, and sequoia. It has narrow, evergreen lance-shaped leaves, 2 1/2” long. Theses leaves bear two white stomatal bands underneath and sometimes also above. As the tree grows, suckers or smaller trunks often form around the base of the tree – resulting in a multi-trunk appearance.

China Fir is native to China, Laos, Taiwan, and North Vietnam. It can grow as high as 160 feet but generally will be less than 100 feet tall. The spread of its canopy will range from 20 to 30 feet.

China Fir is a prized timber tree in China, producing soft, highly durable scented wood similar to that of Coast Redwood. It is used in particular for manufacture of coffins and in temple building – where the scent is valued. It is widely planted in China for commercial use.

The genus name Cunninghamia honors Dr. James Cunningham, a British doctor who introduced this species into cultivation in 1702. It is grown as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens.

China Fir is cold-tolerant and disease-resistant. It is recommended for US cold hardiness zones 7 – 9. This allows it to thrive in nearly 20 states in a sweeping band from Washington down through Texas and eastward to the Virginia coast.

China Fir has a slow to moderate growth rate. It will adapt to sun or shade conditions. It prefers well drained soil but does well in damp heavy soil. China Fir is most highly recommended as a maintenance-free evergreen. It has no pests of significance.

The largest China Fir in Florida is owned by Jim & Emily Notestein. To arrange a visit or to purchase a “Daughter of the Champion”, phone them at 1-352-372-2107.

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