PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata)

It is not a pine, it just looks like one. It is one of the oldest plants on Earth, not the actual age of individual trees, but as a species. The sap from these trees is one of the primary sources of Baltic amber from 30-50 million years ago. All those eons ago, there were likely many species but now there is only one genus and one species. Exclusively native to Japan, where it is known as Koya-maki, for many millennia this unique evergreen conifer has thrived, been utilized, and worshipped,.

Umbrella Pine is a very slow growing tree with a taller-than-wide shape up to 20-40 feet. It might take 100 years to reach mature size in the wild or a little faster if you baby it. It might gain 4-5 feet in 10 years. The wood is waterproof, resistant to rot, and was used for boat making in ancient Japan.

This is a specimen tree with a mind-bogglingly ancient history. It likes a lot of sun and appreciates some watering in our long dry stretches of summer here in the PNW. It can grow multiple trunks, but if you want it taller and more narrow, prune it to a single trunk. Twigs end in a distinctive whorl of long needles.