|Tetraclinis articulata subsp. var.||Alerce, Arar, Juniper gum plant|
|Tetraclinis articulata in the mountains of Cartagena, Spain||
Tetraclinis is a genus of evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae, containing only one species, Tetraclinis articulata, also known as Sandarac or the Barbary thuja, endemic to the western Mediterranean region. It grows at relatively low altitudes in a hot, dry subtropical Mediterranean climate.
It is a small, slow-growing tree, to 6–15 m (rarely 20 m) tall and 0.5 m (rarely 1 m) trunk diameter, often with two or more trunks from the base. The foliage forms in open sprays with scale-like leaves 1–8 mm long and 1–1.5 mm broad; the leaves are arranged in opposite decussate pairs, with the successive pairs closely then distantly spaced, so forming apparent whorls of four. The cones are 10–15 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have four thick scales arranged in two opposite pairs. The seeds are 5–7 mm long and 2 mm broad, with a 3–4 mm broad papery wing on each side.
It is one of only a small number of conifers able to coppice (re-grow by sprouting from stumps), an adaptation to survive wildfire and moderate levels of browsing by animals. Old trees that have sprouted repeatedly over a long period form large burrs at the base, known as lupias.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Callitris quadrivalvis, Vent. (Thuja articulata, Vahl). Arab-tree. Sandarach. Gum Tree. Small tree, with fragrant hard durable wood: branches jointed and spreading: Ivs. very small, flattened, distichous, reduced to scales at the nodes: cone 4-sided, small, the valves oval and with a protuberance near the tip. N. Afr., in the mts. —Furnishes varnish resin (gum sandarach). CH
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A cup made of root burr wood from the Essaouira area of Morocco
Illustration from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants (1887)
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
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