Evergreen conifer, a tree to a height of over 80 m (260 ft) in its habitat, but much less in cultivation. Bark gray-brown, exfoliating in strips. Needles on younger trees narrow-linear to sickle-shaped, to 17 mm long, blue-green. Leaves on adult trees are scale-like, 5-6 mm long and lie flat against the branchlets. Cones are terminal, 8-12 mm long, globose or ovate, similar to those of Tsuga.
Taiwania cryptomerioides is an evergreen conifer (cypress family) that features a conical to columnar crown, dark gray-brown bark that exfoliates in strips and dimorphic (having two forms) leaves. In the wild, this huge tree (related to the California redwoods) will grow over time to 175' tall or more. In cultivation, it will grow much shorter. In 1904, it was discovered growing on the western slopes of Mt. Morrison, Taiwan by N. Konishi. It is native to Taiwan, hence the genus name, with a variety (Taiwania cryptomerioides var. flousiana) being found in southwestern China and Myanmar. Prickly, blue-green, juvenile leaves are subulate (awl-shaped) to falcate (sickle-shaped) and sharp-pointed, but become scale-like in appearance as the tree matures (dimorphic foliage). Taiwania cones (to 1/2" long) do not appear until branches with flattened, scale-like leaves are produced.
Genus name comes from Taiwan (Formosa) where the one species of this genus, T. cryptomerioides was originally found.
Specific epithet means like Cryptomeria as the juvenile needles resemble Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese red cedar).