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Giants in the Forest - Taiwan Red Cypress and Taiwan Cypress

2020/04/23
The Giant Trees Plank Trail in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area


There are only a total of 7 cypress species distributed in North America, Japan and Taiwan in the entire world, and the small tiny island of Taiwan alone possesses two of them: Taiwan Red Cypress and Taiwan Cypress (jointly knowns as Taiwan Cypress), among which Taiwan Red Cypress is the endemic variety of Taiwan.


Though having existed on Earth since over 30 million years ago, it was not until million years ago that the high mountains in Taiwan, formed by plate extrusion after having gone through several ice ages, became the shelter for cypress. Had not got a chance to migrate when the temperature warmed up worldwide, cypress began to move to areas at high altitudes. Taiwan has thus become the southernmost and the only country where the cypress grows dense in the subtropics.
 

Taiwan Red False Cypress, the “Syueshan Giant Tree”&Shuishan Giant Tree
 
The short geological time that results in steep slopes formed by frequent collapse is particularly conducive to the growth of cypress plantlet, which is exactly the reason why cypress tree can grow dense and well in Taiwan. Furthermore, the cloud belt at the altitude from 1,800 to 2,500 provides moist required by cypress tree. Bred under constant moisturizing environments, cypress grows into the giant of the forest and the key member of Taiwanese sacred tree.


Would you like to experience the figure of Taiwan Red Cypress and Taiwan Cypress in close distance? Come on! Let us visit Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area to view and admire the giant sacred tree and small sacred tree (shenmu) of millennium red cypresses. The sacred trees in Alishan is famous far and wide as well. Shuishan Giant Tree, one of the new eight scenic spots of Alishan, is known as “the thicket sacred tree of Alishan” as it requires 15 people to spam around the trunk by holding hands. But perhaps you might declare that it is also possible to see this type of tree in both Japan and America. Nonetheless, you will never be able to find a cypress variety that gives off such a charming and enchanting fragrance like Taiwanese cypress.

Should you have any chance to wander among the forest, why not slow down the pace to get to known the tree species of Taiwan unique in the world and enjoy the pleasant, delicate fragrance sent forth by the sacred trees.