Chinese silverleaf - Cathaya argyrophylla
From southern China and as rare as the panda, this species only has about 1,000 mature individual trees in the wild and is rare in cultivation. In its natural habitat it grows on steep narrow mountainsides on limestone soil. In pre-history this tree grew in Europe and Canada (evidenced by fossils) but is now limited to a very small geographical region in China where it is highly protected.
In 1992 China produced stamps to commemorate 4 of its rare trees. The Cathaya argyrophylla was one of those trees.
Bedgebury boasts the first tree in Britain to produce cones in cultivation (akin to raising baby pandas in captivity!).