Chamaecyparis pisifera
Common name: 
Sawara Falsecypress
Sawara Cypress
kam-e-SIP-a-ris pi-SIF-er -a
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, to 160 ft (50 m) in its native habitat, much less in cultivation, narrow conical crown, horizontally spreading branches which tend to be in a single plane, nodding.  Bark red-brown, smooth, exfoliating in thin strips.  Adult leaves scale-like, opposite, appressed, glossy green above, usually with distinct white markings below, facial needles sharp, boat-shaped.  Juvenile leaves, such as found on seedlings, are needle-like, 4–8 mm long, soft and bluish-green. Cones clustered, small, globose, about 6 mm wide, dark brown, 8-12 scales.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4    Native to Japan.  Introduced into cultivation in the west about 1859.  The species type is rather uncommon as a landscape plant.  The horticultural literature often further divides the species into various subdivisions (often as a var. or f.); the three most common are:
    • Filifera (C. p. f. filifera), Threadleaf Falsecypress: drooping, whip or cord-like branchlets mostly covered with scale-like adult leaves
    • Squarosa (C. p. f. squarosa), Moss Falsecypress: branchlets with soft, needle-like juvenile leaves
    • Plumosa (C. p. f. plumosa), Plume Falsecypress: branchlets feathery, with part adult and part juvenile leaves
  • Here are a few of the many cultivars available:
    • scale leaves
      • 'Compacta Variegata'  -  dwarf form, leaves green-gray with flecks of cream
      • 'Filifera'  -  shrub/tree, in time to 40-50 ft (12-15 m) high !, branchlets thin, filamentous, cord-like
      • 'Filifera Aurea'  -  semi-dwarf, slow growing, branches and leaves like ‘Filifera’, but yellow (see similar)
      • 'Filifera Nana'  -  shrub, dwarf, bushy habit, filamentous, cord-like branchlets
      • 'Lemon Thread'  -  semi-dwarf, conical, upright, mostly yellow thread-like branchlets
      • 'Sungold'  -  semi-dwarf, a flat globe, slow growing, foliage is thread-like and golden-yellow.
    • needle leaves
      • 'Curly Tops'  -  globose semi-dwarf, metallic blue foliage with twisted and curled branch tips
      • 'Boulevard'  -  tree, 15-25 ft, narrow-pyramidal, conical, needles awl-shaped
      • 'Squarrosa'  -  tree, 8(65!) ft [2(20!) m], densely twiggy, becomes irregularly fluffy
    • intermediate leaves
      • 'Plumosa'  -  tree, to 30-65 ft (10-20 m) tall, branchlets feathery, scale leaves and needle-like leaves
  • pisifera: from the Latin pisum, pea, and ferre, to bear, a reference to its small, pea-sized cones.   Sawara: its Japanese name.
  • Portland, Oregon: Hoyt Arboretum
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