Japanese Umbrella Pine
How about a real specimen plant? The Japanese Umbrella Pine is a relic from the Triassic Period. A living fossil was found whose origins are from 230 million years ago. It’s not really a pine either. It’s a coniferous evergreen, but it has no closely related living species. It has been given its own family designation Sciadopitaceae.
Umbrella Pine grows extremely slow – about 6″ per year – so it can be put in small gardens as a specimen plant. I prefer to highlight the corners of yards or large beds with it. It has whorls of needles and an interesting texture. The needles look like they are made of plastic as they are shiny and a deep green. The cones take two years to set after fertilization.
Just because it survived 230 million years of evolution doesn’t mean it doesn’t need care! This plant does like to be moist and doesn’t tolerate drought conditions very well…which means it will grow quite well in the soils around the New Hampshire seacoast. Due to the flexible nature of the stems, they tend to bend low and suffer damage under a snow load – so you will want to wrap the branches with jute twine before winter.