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Glyptostrobus pensilis - (Staunton.)Koch.

Common Name Chinese Swamp Cypress
Family Taxodiaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats River deltas, etc., on flooded or waterlogged soil in full sun near sea level[266]. This species is usually planted and is possibly extinct in the wild[185, 200, 266].
Range E. Asia - S.E. China.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun
Glyptostrobus pensilis Chinese Swamp Cypress
Glyptostrobus pensilis Chinese Swamp Cypress


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Glyptostrobus pensilis is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from January to March, and the seeds ripen from September to March. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


G. heterophyllus. G. lineatus. G. sinensis. Taxodium heterophyllum. Thuja pensilis.


Woodland Garden Canopy; Pond;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Antidote  Febrifuge  Oxytoxic  Skin  Women's complaints

Antidote, oxytocic. Cures ascites, treats animal bites and dropsy of pregnant women[178]. A decoction of the shoots is used in the treatment of fever, hepatitis, skin complaints etc. It is said to be an anodyne for animal bites[218].


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Other Uses

Cork  Shelterbelt  Soil stabilization  Wood

The roots have high buoyancy and are used to make life buoys, bottle corks, etc[266]. Tannins extracted from the bark and the cone scales are used in tanning, dyeing, and fishing nets[266]. Having an extensive root system, it is often planted in wet places for erosion control, to stabilize river banks and paddy field walls[81, 200, 266]. It is also used as a windbreak[266]. Wind-felled trees are used in constructing buildings, bridges and furniture[266].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Thriving beside water and in damp places, plants require a very damp soil and will prove hardier if they are standing in up to 60cm of water[81, 200]. They prefer growing in areas with hot summers and will die within 2 years if they are planted in a dry site[81]. This species is rarely hardy in Britain[1], plants do not succeed outdoors at Kew[11]. Although said to succeed in zone 8, this species is barely hardy in colder zones without hot humid summers (to ripen the wood) and even then only attains 3 - 4 metres in height[200]. The southern distribution of this species is quite hardy but is sometimes thought to be tender due to its being planted in the wrong site. It must be given a wet soil, preferably standing water[81]. This species is considered to be a symbol of good luck in its native regions and consequently it is not normally deliberately felled by villagers[266]. Slower growing than the vegetatively similar swamp cypress, Taxodium distichum, it is late coming into leaf in the spring and also to lose its leaves in the autumn[81]. Trees occasionally reach 25 metres tall in the wild[11].


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Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold greenhouse in late winter. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings. Again, no details but we would try taking cuttings of mature wood in the late autumn or winter in a frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Subject : Glyptostrobus pensilis  
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