Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:

Hesperocyparis forbesii

Hesperocyparis forbesii (Jeps.) Bartel

Tecate Cypress

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Callitropsis forbesii, Cupressus forbesii, Cupressus guadalupensis ssp. forbesii, Cupressus guadalupensis var. forbesii, Neocupressus guadalupensis var. forbesii

USDA Symbol: HEFO10

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A small tree, usually 20 ft. high, with an irregular/spreading to tight/symmetrical crown, light-green foliage, and exfoliating, mahogany-red, polished bark.

The common name refers to Mt. Tecate near the Mexico border, where this cypress was first found in California. It used to be considered a subspecies of a tree native to Guadalupe Island, off the west coast of Baja California.


From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall, often much shorter.
Fruit: Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Flowers inconspicuous.


Native Distribution: S. CA
Native Habitat: Dry, chaparral & canyon slopes; 1500-5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Grows quickly to 12-15 ft., then slows to 2-3 in. of growth per year. Can easily be held at 15 ft. Drought tolerant.


Description: Stratified seeds will germinate at 72 degrees. The percent of viable seeds is often low.
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: Cool-moist stratify for 30 days at 34 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Web Reference

Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-05
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back