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 macrocarpa

Hesperocyparis macrocarpa (Hartw.) Bartel

Monterey Cypress

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Callitropsis macrocarpa, Cupressus macrocarpa, Neocupressus macrocarpa

USDA Symbol: HEMA22

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (I)

An artistic, horizontally-branched tree growing 30-50 ft., sometimes taller. Conical in youth, the tree becomes broad and spreading with age. Medium-sized evergreen tree with large cones and with symmetrical crown when young or where protected; often becoming irregular and flat-topped when exposed to high winds. Soft-textured, dark-green needles are scale-like and flattened against the branchlets; the overall effect is like a braided bullwhip.

The gnarled, picturesque Monterey Cypresses growing on sea cliffs are a favorite photographic subject. The 2 native groves are protected within Point Lobos Reserve and Del Monte Forest at Point Cypress. It is widely planted as an ornamental, hedge, and windbreak along the California coastline and grown in forest plantations for timber in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.


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 80 feet tall.
Fruit: Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Notes: Bloom color refers to mature pollen cones and seed cones.


Native Distribution: Monterey Peninsula, CA
Native Habitat: Exposed headland & dry places

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Tremendously susceptible to a canker that kills the tree, especially if it is planted away from cool, coastal breezes. Tolerant of salt spray. Older trees are drought-tolerant.


Description: Stratified seeds will germinate at 72 degrees. The percent of viable seed 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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society

Additional resources

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


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

Go back