Hesperocyparis arizonica (Greene) Bartel
Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
Synonym(s): Callitropsis arizonica, Cupressus arizonica, Cupressus arizonica ssp. arizonica, Neocupressus arizonica
USDA Symbol: hear22
Arizona cypress is a graceful, pyramid-shaped tree, 30-40 ft. high (usually taller in the wild) by 15-20 ft. wide. Evergreen tree with conical crown and stout, horizontal branches. Soft-textured, pale, gray-green to blue-green, evergreen foliage is scale-like and flattened against the branchlets; the overall effect is like a braided bullwhip. The rough outer bark of older trees scales off to reveal an inner bark that changes color from tan to plum to red.
Arizona Cypress is often grown for Christmas trees. The durable wood is used locally for fenceposts. As many as 5 varieties, based on minor differences of foliage and bark, have been distinguished.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 30-40 feet tall, 15-25 feet wide.
Size Class: 36-72 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Flowers inconspicuous.
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: W. TX to extreme s. NV, s. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Hot, dry canyons & stream banks from 3000 to 7000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Arizona cypress is drought-tolerant, fast-growing and relatively short-lived (30-50 years). It is very widely used as an ornamental and for windbreaks in its native range.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Fast growing, Aromatic
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site
Use Other: Makes a good wind break.
Interesting Foliage: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or treated cuttings taken in late fall. Stratified seeds will germinate at 72 degrees.
Seed Collection: Most cypresses have seratiunous cones that can hang on the trees for several years without opening. Cone should be collected by cutting them from the limbs. They can be opened by boiling for 30-60 seconds.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require cold-moist stratification for one month.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
BibliographyBibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Hesperocyparis arizonica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hesperocyparis arizonica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hesperocyparis arizonica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-04-09
Research By: TWC Staff