Thought to have been extinct for thousands of years, this plant was found growing in a few isolated sites in its native China during the 1940s. It is a pyramidal tree with small cones and soft, pale green needles that turn light orange-brown in autumn, then drop to reveal an attractive winter silhouette. Branchlets tend to turn upward. Young trees have reddish bark; older ones have darker, fissured bark and rugged, fluted trunk bases. Grows very fast when youngsometimes as much as 46 feet a year. Give it room. Reaches about 90 feet tall and 20 feet wide at the age of 40 or so (trees haven't been in cultivation long enough to determine the maximum garden size). Looks like bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), another deciduous conifer. 'Ogon' has yellow foliage; 'Raven' is more vigorous, pyramidal, symmetrical, and resistant to diseases.
Grows best in good, well-drained soil with steady moisture. Not a good lawn tree due to protruding surface roots on older trees. Not suited to arid regions or seacoast, since dry heat and salty ocean winds will burn foliage.