is a genus of conifers in the cypress family Cupressaceae, comprising about six species. It is native to eastern Asia and western and eastern North America.
Chamaecyparis is medium-sized to large evergreen conifer, growing to 20-70 m tall, with flat spray foliage. The leaves on young tree are needle-like, and scale-like for adult leaves. The cones are globose to oval, with 8-14 scales ( 2-4 seeds per scale) arranged in opposite decussate pairs. Many cultivars have been developed from Chamaecyparis, providing trees and shrubs of every size and habit, ranging from small shrubs for rock gardens to magnificent tall trees. Some are dwarf, some have yellow, blue, silvery or varietated foliage, some have permament retention of juvenile (needle-like) leaves, and thread-like shoots with reduced branching. Chamaecyparis species are food plants for larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Juniper Pug and Pine Beauty.
(Lawson's Cypress), 50-70 m tall, is a cypress, native to the southwest of Oregon and the far northwest of California in the United States. The species often occurs from sea level up to 1500 m altitude in mountain alleys and along streams. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree with glaucous blue-green, feathery foliage in flat spray. The bark is reddish brown, and fibrous to scaly in vertical strips. The leaves are produced on flattened shoot, scale-like, 3-5 mm long, with narrow white markings on the underside. The seed cones are globose with 6-10 scales, green at first, maturing 6-8 months after pollination, to brown in early autumn. It is of great importance in horticulture, with hundred of named cultivars have been selected for garden planting with varying crown shape, growth rates and foliage color. The wood is light and durable, and is a highly valued wood in east Asia, and Japan is the biggest importer of the valuable wood, where the wood is being used for making shrines, temples and coffins.
(Japanese cypress, hinoki cypress or hinoki), 35 m tall, is a slow-growing tree, native to central Japan. It has dark red-brown bark with leaves that are scale-like, blunt tipped, green above, and green below with a white stomatal band at the base of each scale-leaf. The cones are globose, with 8-12 scales arranged in opposite pairs. In Japan, it is grown for its very high quality timber, where it is used as a material for building palaces, temples and shrines. The wood is lemon-scented, light pinkish-brown, with a rich, straight grain, and is highly rot-resistant. It is also a popular ornamental trees in parks and gardens, and also grown as bonsai. The pollen is a major cause for hay fever in Japan.
(Sawara Cypress, Sawara), 35-50 m tall, is a species of false cypress, native to central and southern Japan, on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. It is a slow-growing coniferous tree with red-brown bark, scale-like adult leaves that are arranged in flat sprays. The young seedling has needle-like, glaucous bluish-green juvenile leaves. The cones are globose, with 6-10 scales arranged in opposite pairs, maturing in autumn 7-8 months after pollination. This species is grown for timber in Japan, where it is used as material for building palaces, shrines, temples, baths, and making coffin. It has a lesser value than the timber of C. obtusa. the wood is rot-resistant, lemon-scented, and light-colored with a rich, straight grain. It is popular in gardens and parks as ornamental tree, both in Japan and elsewhere in temperate climates including western Europe and parts of North America.
Chamaecyparis grows best in sun, in neutral to slightlu acidic soil. Propagation is by cuttings in late summer. Pests and diseases are aphids, canker, honey fungus and root rot.
Lawson's Cypress Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (left) and Sugar Pine Pinus lambertiana (right)
US Forest Service Dorena Genetic Resource Center
Chamaecyparis obtusa fruit