Microbiota is a monotypic genus of evergreen coniferous shrub in the cypress family Cupressaceae, containing only one species, Microbiota decussata (Siberian carpet cypress, Russian arbor-vitae). The plant is native and endemic to a limited area of the Sikhote-Alin mountains in Primorskiy Krai in the Russian Far East. The name causes much confusion because of other meanings for the word "microbiota," but the genus name was derived from "micro," meaning "small" + "Biota," name for a closely related conifer, a species formerly called Biota orientalis, now renamed Platycladus orientalis.
It is generally accepted as being a distinct genus. It has also been suggested, but not widely followed, that Microbiota could be included in the closely related genus Platycladus. Other fairly close relatives are the genera Juniperus and Cupressus.
Microbiota decussata is a prostrate shrub to 20–50 centimetres (0.66–1.64 ft) in height, and 2–5 metres (6.6–16.4 ft) in spreading width. The foliage forms in flat sprays with scale-like leaves 2–4 mm long. The cones are among the smallest of any conifer, 2–3 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have 4 scales arranged in two opposite pairs. The seeds are 2 mm long, with no wing; there is usually only one seed in each cone, rarely two.
Microbiota decussata is grown as an ornamental plant for use as evergreen groundcover in gardens and parks. It is valued for its drought tolerance and considerable cold temperature and winter season conditions tolerance. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Microbiota decussata
- Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 64 侧柏 ce bai Platycladus orientalis (Linnaeus) Franco, Portugaliae Acta Biol., ser. B, Sist. Vol. "Júlio Henriques". 33. 1949.
- Tropicos, Biota Endl.
- Komarov, Vladimir Leontjevich. 1923. Botanicheskie Materialy Gerbariya Glavnogo Botanicheskogo Sada RSFSR 4(23/24): 180.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Microbiota decussata". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Microbiota decussata.|
- Arboretum de Villardebelle - Microbiota leaf and cone photos
- Gymnosperm Database - Microbiota decussata
- Conifers Around the World: Microbiota decussata - Cypress-Juniper.