Alishan Sacred Tree (阿里山神木) beside Alishan Forest Railway, Taiwan

Alishan Sacred Tree (阿里山神木) beside Alishan Forest Railway, Taiwan


University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: Mx01-103. Cadbury Research Library archive finding number: DA26/2/2/4 (John Preston Maxwell Papers). Mt. Ari is Alishan 阿里山, in Jiayi County, southwestern Taiwan. The ‘Alishan Sacred Tree’ (阿里山神木) or ‘Shenmu’ (神木) or ‘Alishan Giant Tree’ was an ancient Taiwan red cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis). The famous tree was also photographed by the plant hunter and botanist Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930), known as ‘Chinese Wilson’, in 1917. See ‘Wilson’s China, A Century On’ by Mark Flanagan and Tony Kirkham (Kew Publishing, 2009), page 16. This tree was struck by lightning in 1956, damaged by heavy rain in 1997, and finally cut down in 1998, the trunk now lying in situ beside the railway line.

Caption in album or on mount

Celebrated tree on Mt. Ari / Said to be 2000 years old.



Estimated Date





Black and white photograph


Cadbury Research Library (Special Collections), University of Birmingham