Forest crops: Monterey Cypress

Forest crops: Monterey Cypress

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Classification, origin and diffusion

Division: Spermatophyta
Subdivision: Gymnospermae
Class: Coniferae
Family: Cupressaceae

The Monterey Cypress is a species native to California (Monterey Bay), where it is found along the rocky and steep slopes exposed to the sea, in association with evergreen oaks. It was introduced in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century as an ornamental plant for parks and gardens.

Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. (photo J.B. Friday

Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. Friday

General characteristics

Size and bearing
Medium-sized tree that reaches 20 meters in height. The crown is first conical poiespansa, irregular. In the older specimens it assumes an umbrella shape, with branches forming flat and spaced horizontal boxes.
Trunk and bark
The trunk is first straight and then more or less oblique, twisted and gnarled, with an enlarged base; the rind is grayish-white or light hazelnut, thickly furrowed vertically.
Persistent and scaly, tightly packed in the branches; if rubbed they give off a citrus scent.
Reproductive structures
Male flowers are small yellowish cones in the terminal position of the twigs; the female ones are more or less rounded cones grouped in two or singles. The fruit is a globular or ellipsoidal galbule, dark brown when ripe, 2.5-4 cm in diameter, with 4-6 scales with relief in the central area, slightly smaller than that of the common cypress.


Thanks to the rapid growth and excellent quality of the wood (aromatic, fine-grained and yellowish) it is widely used as a wood essence. In addition to being an ornamental plant, in Europe it has also been used in reforestation of the Mediterranean coastal areas thanks to its resistance to winds and saltiness.

Video: Field Grown Bald Cypress as Bonsai (July 2022).


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