Cunninghamia lanceolata is really a stunner! Flattened, lanceolate, blue green leaves on a fast growing, irregularly conical habit are a beauty to behold. Sweet! The general shape of Cunninghamia is conical with tiered, horizontal branches that are often somewhat pendulous toward the tips. The habit of a young plants is often somewhat asymmetrical. While not a true fir, Cunninghamia (Chinese Fir) bears softly spined, leathery, stiff, green to blue-green needle-like leaves that spiral around the stem with an upward arch; they are 2–7 cm long and 3–5 mm broad at the base, and bear two white or greenish-white stomatal bands underneath and sometimes also above. The foliage may turn bronze-tinted in very cold winter weather.
Ours is the blue-leaved variety, Cunninghamia lanceolata glauca. The powder-blue color is most pronounced on the newer foliage. The 'glauca' variety purportedly has better winter hardiness than the typical species
As the tree grows its trunk tends to sucker around the base, particularly following damage to the stem or roots, and it then may grow in a multi-trunked form. Prune as desired to create a more dominant central leader. The brown bark of mature trees peels off in strips to reveal reddish-brown inner bark.
Some conifer gardeners purposely cut the entire plant to the ground on a periodic basis to encourage the lush bushy form of younger plants.
This is a very old cultivar that has been in the nursery trade since the 1850s.