Thought to have been extinct for millions 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 bronze 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 young—sometimes as much as 4–6 ft. a year in California (less in colder areas). Reaches about 90 ft. tall and about 20 ft. wide at the age of 40 or so (trees haven’t been in cultivation long enough to determine the maximum garden size). Looks somewhat like bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), another deciduous conifer. While in leaf, it also bears a superficial resemblance to coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Grows best in good, well-drained soil with regular moisture. Good lawn tree, though in time surface roots may interrupt the smooth flow of turf. Not suited to arid regions or the seacoast, since dry heat and salty ocean winds will burn foliage. Resistant to oak root fungus.