Hesperocyparis arizonica
Common name: 
Arizona Cypress
Rough-bark Arizona Cypress
HES-per-oh-SIP-air-iss air-ih-ZO-nih-kuh
Callitropsis arizonica
Cupressus arizonica var. glabra
Neocupressus arizonica
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, forms a broad conical shape, to a height of 40-60 ft with a width of 15-20 ft (12-18 m x 4.5-6 m).  Foliage in dense sprays, dull gray-green to a bright, waxy blue-green. Scale-like leaves only 2-5 mm long, opposite in 4 rows,  and displayed on 4-angled (appear rounded) twigs.  Seed cones are globose to oblong, 1.5-3 cm long, usually with 6 or 8 scales (sometimes 4 to 10), green at first then maturing to gray or gray-brown.  Cones may remain closed for years, only opening to release seeds when the bearing branch dies, as in a fire.  Male cones are 3-5 mm long and release pollen in early spring.

  • Sun, best in well-drained soil.  Moderately drought tolerant when established.

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 7    Its native range is mostly in northern Mexico at elevations of as high as 2200 meters. It is also found in small areas in the southern parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, between 1000 and 1500 meters in elevation.

  • Taxonomy: There has been a good deal of taxonomic discussion in recent years regarding some of the species in the Cupressaceae.   This has resulted in Arizona Cypress being classified a Cupressus arizonica, Callitopsis arizonica, and more recently as Hesperocyparis arizonica.  As of 2024, Hesperocyparis (western cypress) (Hesperus, -a, -um; Latin, of the west, western) is listed as the correct genus classification of this species by Plants of the World Online, World Flora Online, and the Gymnosperm Database.  There is disagreement about this classification, with some scientists continuing to use Cupressus in preference to Hesperocyparis.  For details, click on the Genus Hesperocyparis above.
  • A few selections: some are offered as selections of Hesperocyparis (Cupressusglabra and others, more commonly, as derived from Hesperocyparis (Cupressus) arizonica
    • 'Blue Ice'  -  tree, columnar form, leaves steel-blue
    • 'Blue Spire'  -  narrow weeping form
    • 'Chaparral'  -  dense, broadly columnar, creamy-white to "blue mint green"
    • 'Raywoods Weeping'  -  very narrow, upright, secondary branches hang straight down.
    • 'Sulphurea'  -  upright, compact columnar form, leaves sulfur-yellow
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