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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Cupressaceae

5. Chamaecyparis Spach, 11: 329. 1841.

White-cedar, false-cypress, faux-cypres [Greek chamai, on the ground, or dwarf, and cyparissos, cypress]

David C. Michener

Trees (rarely shrubs). Branchlets terete or rhombic in cross section, in fan-shaped or pinnately flattened sprays. Leaves opposite in 4 ranks. Adult leaves usually appressed, lateral and facial pairs similar, closely overlapping, scalelike, free portion of long-shoot leaves to ca. 7 mm; abaxial glands present or absent, circular to linear. Pollen cones with 2--3 pairs of sporophylls, each sporophyll with 2--4 pollen sacs. Seed cones maturing and opening in 1--2 years, nearly globose, glaucous, 4--12 mm; scales persistent, 2--5(--6) pairs, valvate, peltate or basifixed, thick and woody, terminal pair often fused. Seeds 1--4 per cone scale, lenticular, equally 2-winged; cotyledons 2--3. x = 11.

Species 6--7 (3 in the flora): North America, e Asia.

Two Japanese species are widely cultivated and may become established locally. Chamaecyparis obtusa (Siebold & Zuccarini) Endlicher (hinoki-cypress) has obtuse, glandless leaves and seed cones ca. 10--12 mm broad; C . pisifera (Siebold & Zuccarini) Endlicher (sawara-cypress) has acuminate, obscurely glandular leaves and seed cones 6--8 mm broad. Cultivated juvenile forms of several species have been referred to by the superfluous Retinospora Siebold & Zuccarini. Some authors include species of Chamaecyparis in the genus Cupressus .

1 Seed cones 4-9 mm broad; leaves usually with circular abaxial glands; Atlantic and Gulf coasts.   1 Chamaecyparis thyoides
+ Seed cones 8-12 mm broad; leaves with linear to circular abaxial glands or glands absent; Pacific Coast.   (2)
2 (1) Seed cones with 5-9 scales, opening at end of first year, not notably resinous; leaves usually with linear glands; facial leaves of branchlets frequently separated from each other by paired bases of lateral leaves.   2 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
+ Seed cones with 4-6 scales, sometimes remaining closed at end of first year, becoming resinous; leaves usually without glands, these circular when present; apices of facial leaves of branchlets often overlapping the base of next facial leaf.   3 Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Lower Taxa


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