Japanese Umbrella Pine with wooden temple buildings, a lake and hills in the background

January 21, 2016

Japanese Umbrella Pine with wooden temple buildings, a lake and hills in the background

Japanese Umbrella Pine with wooden temple buildings, a lake and hills in the background

Japanese Umbrella Pine with wooden temple buildings, a lake and hills in the background

Sciadopitys vericillata. Japan, Lake Chuzinji. Two tall trees photographed at Temple. Lower right Taxus cuspidata. Photo by J.G. Jack. 8/10/05 [Information from label on verso of photo mount.] 13.5 x 8 cm. Gelatin silver process.

Sciadopitys vericillata

[Title from recto of mount.]
Alternate title: Tree habit with wooden temple buildings, a lake and hills in the background
Subject: Sciadopitys vericillata (Thunb.) Seib. & Zucc. ; Pinaceae ; Japanese Umbrella Pine.
Photograph by John George Jack (1861-1949, American, Canadian)
Chuzenji, Lake, Tochigi, Japan
August 10, 1905

A larger version of this image is available in Harvard Library’s HOLLIS+ catalog.

In April 1886, John George Jack visited the director of the Arboretum, Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927) at his Brookline, Massachusetts estate, Holm Lea. Promised only manual labor at small compensation, he began working at the Arnold Arboretum, but within a short time his botanical knowledge became apparent, earning Sargent’s confidence and an increase in his pay to a dollar a day.

Jack continued his education at Harvard and became Assistant Professor of Dendrology at the Arnold Arboretum. Already experienced in plant exploration when he embarked on a year-long trip to the Far East in 1905, Jack became the first staff member after Sargent to visit Asia.

You can read more about Jack’s life, expeditions, and value as an educator in Lisa Pearson‘s recent profile, “John George Jack: Dendrologist, Educator, Plant Explorer” in Arnoldia 71(4), 2014 [pdf].

The Archive Collection of the Arnold Arboretum also holds the John George Jack (1861-1949) papers, 1887-1990 [pdf].

On a related note, Sciadopitys vericillata is the Tree of the Month for January at The Arnold Arboretum. The plant is commonly known as the Japanese Umbrella Pine because its whorled needles look like the ribs of an umbrella. Although commonly called a pine, it is actually a unique conifer classified within its own family. Fossil evidence dates back 230 million years, and covered what is now Asia, Europe, and North America. It currently grows naturally only in the cool cloud forests of central Japan, at elevations of 1,500 and 3,000 feet.

Copyright © 2003, President and Fellows of Harvard College, Arnold Arboretum Archives; all rights reserved.

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