Temporal range: Middle Triassic to Recent
Sciadopitys, the Japanese umbrella-pine, is a unique conifer. It is endemic to Japan, and the sole surviving member of the family Sciadopityaceae. It is a living fossil with no close relatives: its fossils date from 230 million years ago.
It is an evergreen tree that can grow 15-27m tall. Its brown main shoots have whorls of 7–12 cm long flexible green "cladodes". These look like, and perform the function of, leaves but are actually composed of stem tissue. Occasionally, a cladode will fork and produce a bud in the 'v' of the fork, just like a normal stem.
It is a very attractive tree and is popular in gardens, despite its slow growth rate and high cost. Koyamaki was chosen as the Japanese Imperial crest for Prince Hisahito of Akishino, currently third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.