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Cupressaceae: Thuja sutchenensis


Thuja sutchuenensis Franchet

Original Distribution

China, Sichuan: North-East, near Chengkou


Before 1999 it had not been collected in the wild since it was discovered at 1400 m elevation in NE Sichuan (the SE Daba Shan area in Chengkou Xian) by missionary P.G. Farges, who collected it in 1892 and 1900. It was accordingly thought to be extinct in the wild (Fu et al. 1999). However, in 1999 it was rediscovered by Chinese botanists in the same region, in a 20 ha area within the Daba Mountain Nature Reserve near Chongqing. This is the only example, among the conifers, of such rediscovery of a species lost and thought extinct. The Chinese government has committed itself to protecting these trees and their habitat, which also contains many other endangered plant species

Extinction Data

ICUN Critially Endangered - 2002


Thuja sutchuenensis (Sichuan Thuja) is a species of thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae. It is native to China, where it is a critically endangered local endemic in Chongqing Municipality in eastern Sichuan. It is a small or medium-sized tree, reaching possibly 20 m tall, though no trees of this size are currently known. The foliage forms in flat sprays with scale-like leaves 1.5-4 mm long, green above, and with narrow white stomatal bands below. The cones are oval, green ripening brown, 5-8 mm long and 3-4.2 mm broad (opening to 7 mm broad), with 8-10 overlapping scales

Number of Specimens at Kew


Specimen Type (Y/N)


Kew Herbcat Barcode Number



Rev Pere Farges

Date Collected

19th May 1911

Information Sources

Farjon, A., Page, C.N. and Schellevis, N. (1993). A preliminary world list of threatened conifer taxa, Biodiversity and Conservation 2: 304-326.Fu, L. Jin, J. (eds.). (1992). China Plant Red Data Book. Rare and endangered plants. Vol. 1. Science Press. Beijing. Pp 38..National Environment Protection Bureau (1987). The list of rare and endangered plants protected in China. Botanical Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing: Academy press. Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. & MacKinven A. (1998). The world List of Threatened trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge. Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds) (1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre IUCN The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK