Cathaya argyrophylla
Common name: 
Cathay Silver-fir
ka-THAY-a ar-gi-ro-FIL-la
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Medium sized evergreen tree to 65 ft (20 m) tall, branches arranged horizontally, young shoots striped brown, trunk width 40 cm or more; has both long and short shoots.  Buds not resinous.  Leaves (needles) on long shoots arising radially around branches, 4-5 cm long and about 3 mm wide, but on short shoots whorled and only 2.5 cm long, dark green above and light green below, with 2 silvery-white stomatal bands and 2 subepidermal resin ducts, (juvenile leaves ciliate on the margin and pubescent on the upper surface).  Cones 3-5 cm long, 1.5-2 cm wide, attached by a short or almost no stalk on short lateral shoots, they are initially erect but becoming pendulous, persisting for several years.
  • Sun
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 8    Only first described in 1955.  An endangered species native to southern China, in parts of Sichuan, Guizhou, Henan, and Guangxi provinces between 1400-1800 m.  See "A synopsis of the enigmatic Cathay silver fir" by Chris Callaghan, International Dendrology Yearbook, 2006, p. 151-167; also and update in 2008.  See
  • argyrophylla:   argyro, silvery, and phylla, leaves; i.e., silver-leaved.
  • Silverton, Oregon: The Oregon Garden - Conifer Garden
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • branches


  • leaves


  • cones