Sciadopitys verticillata

The morphology of the shoots of Sciadopitys is quite different from all other conifers. The shoots of Sciadopitys are always long shoots (but of very different length from 2mm to 30 cm) covered with brownish scale leaves and each long shoot ending in a verticil ("umbrella") of special double needles. The verticils of Sciadopitys may be interpreted as dwarf shoots, but they are most likely analogous and not homologous to the different dwarf shoots from Pinaceae. All the new shoots of Sciadopitys are created from the meristems by the double-needles of the verticils, whereas no shoots are formed directly from the long shoots, although it may falsely look so.

PHOTO: On the photo are seen five new shoots created from five independent buds in the center of a verticil from last year, but, as seen too, some of the shoots are at first fused together with each other and afterwards they separate after some time in such a way that later it wrongly looks like the one of them has grown directly from somewhere in the middle of the other, which now looks like an ordinary long shoot, but that is not the truth. (Only a single photo is shown, but at first all five buds looked like one irregular bud, by growing they separated into the five different buds, each of which started to grow their own long shoots, which is easily seen on the photo. But some of the long shoots are fused together on the first part of their length as seen at the uppermost left shoot, which seems to originate from the central shoot. When the shoots are still small (as on this photo) it is usually easy to see that they are separate shoots originated from separate buds, but when the shoots grow older it looks falsely like some of the shoots originate from somewhere of the middle of the central long shoot. — There is a new verticil at the end of every of the five new shoots.

NOTE: Apart from the top shoot, normally every terminal verticil creates one new shoot or less often two new shoots, three new shoots from the same verticil is rare, four extremely rare, and five shoots from the same verticil is exceptional. — New shoots may also rarely develop even from older verticils, a new shoot from a 10 years old verticil has been observed.