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Callitropsis nootkatensis

Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little

Alaska Cedar, Alaska-cedar, Yellow Cedar, Nootka Cedar

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, Cupressus nootkatensis, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis

USDA Symbol: CANO9

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Tree with narrow crown and horizontal or slightly drooping branches. Usually a medium-sized tree of 80 ft., Alaska-cedar ranges in height from 15-150 ft., depending mostly on elevation. Mature trees have a narrow profile, stringy white bark, a buttressed trunk and weeping branches. The evergreen foliage, in flat, drooping sprays, is a dull, dark green.

The durable wood has a pleasant, resinous odor; it is used for furniture, interior finish, and boats. Northwest Coast Indians made canoe paddles from the wood and carved ceremonial masks from the trunks.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 150 feet.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Pollen cones brown. Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr


USA: AK , CA , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Coastal s.e. AK, s., at increasing elevations, to Siskiyou Co., CA
Native Habitat: Moist, sea level areas in the north to timberline areas in the south

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Coarse, moist soil.
Conditions Comments: Callitropsis nootkatensis is slow-growing and useful in urban settings.


Description: Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. Seed germination is not high.
Seed Collection: Cones mature in Sept. and Oct. at the end of the first growing season. Each cone scale bears from 1-5 winged seeds.
Seed Treatment: Warm-moist stratify for 30 days then stratify 30 more days at 40 degrees. A cool-moist stratification alone may improve germination also.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Callitropsis nootkatensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Callitropsis nootkatensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Callitropsis nootkatensis


Record Modified: 2023-03-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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