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Genus Chamaecyparis (False cypress)

Chamaecyparis Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea' Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
kam-ah-SIP-ar-iss Common Name: False cypress
In the genus Chamaecyparis are evergreen, coniferous trees with flattened sprays of scale-like adult leaves. Juvenile leaves are larger and ovate to linear. Female cones ripen in autumn and are spherical or angular, with 2 and occasionally 3 to 5 seeds on each scale. Male cones are spherical or ovoid and borne in spring.
Noteworthy characteristics: From Taiwan, Japan, and North America. Use as specimen trees and for hedging. A great number of cultivars exist, including dwarf and slow-growing varieties, some suitable for rock gardens or bonsai.
Care: Tolerates alkaline soil but thrives in moist, well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil in full sun. Trim from late spring to early autumn. Do not cut into older wood.
Propagation: Root semi-ripe cuttings in late summer. Dwarf cultivars should be grafted in late winter or spring.
Problems: Spruce mite, twig blight, root rot, needle blights.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Chamaecyparis

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii' Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii'
(Lawson false cypress)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This plant has a cypress-like, densely conical form with erect feathery branches of ovate blue-gray juvenile leaves. Oblong male cones emerge bluish black, opening brick red. Female cones are wrinkled and reddish brown, to one half-inch. A native of western North America, it is a very popular species since it is highly adaptable.

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'
(Nootka false cypress, Alaska cedar)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This is a conical tree with drooping branches and vertical, flattened sprays of bluish green to dark green foliage. This graceful cultivar has upward-curved branches with drooping branchlets and an open crown when mature. Male cones are ovoid, brownish green, and 1/8 inches long. Female cones are green, 1/2 inch long, with a recurved central hook on each scale, maturing in spring.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea' Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea'
(Hinoki cypress)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Hinoki cypress is a conical, evergreen, coniferous tree with leaves that are actually minute scales on tiny branches in the form of fans. The outer foliage of 'Aurea' is golden and the inner is green. Growth can be slow. Use as a specimen or use several as screening.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold' Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold'
(Japanese falsecypress)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This dwarf Chamaecyparis has a weeping habit and gold to lime green finely-textured needles. It's great for providing year-round color.

no image available Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Heatherbun’
(White cedar, White false cypress, Heatherbun false cypress)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This evergreen, coniferous tree has flattened sprays of scale-like adult leaves. 'Heatherbun' has soft, blue-green juvenile foliage that turns plum to bronze in winter and a compact, rounded form.