Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Ericoides'
Common name: 
Ericoides White Cedar
Pronunciation: 
kam-e-SIP-a-ris thi-OI-dez
Family: 
Cupressaceae
Type: 
Conifer
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Conifer, evergreen shrub/tree, 5 ft (1.5) tall, but may finally reach 30 ft (10 m), conical habit, very compact, densely branches.  Leaves are a juvenile form (needles), known as heath-leaved, soft to the touch, in whorls of 3, outspread, about 6 mm long, blue-green in summer and red-brown to reddish-violet in winter.
  • Sun  best in moist, sandy soil.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (4)5     
  • Its origin is sometimes given as from the Begéot Nursery in Le Mans, France, about 1840.  However, Miller and Meyer [Baileya 23(2)57-67(1989)] indicate that this is incorrect and that the plant referred to was Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Squarrosa' not C. thyoides 'Ericoides'.  Miller and Meyer also point out that this cultivar, 'Ericoides', long known as the "heath-leaved cypress", has had a convoluted taxonomic history for over a century, in that time having been assigned to at least eight different genera.  These authors used macroscopic and microscopic wood anatomical features to establish that 'Ericoides' is in fact a form of Chamaecyparis thyoides and probably arose from a branch sport.  Using DNA technology, J.H. Li and others at Arnold Arboretum, Harvard Univ. [HortScience 39(6):1217-1219(2004)], corroborated the conclusion of wood anatomy study that 'Ericoides' was a selection of Chamaecyparis thyoides.
  • Several authorities note that 'Ericoides' is sometime sold under the name 'Red Star', which is different selection.
  • Received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
  • ‘Ericoides’: from erica, heath, and -oides, resembles; hence "heath-leaved".
  • Silverton, Oregon: The Oregon Garden.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • leaves, winter

    leaves, winter