Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Squarrosa'
Common name: 
Moss Falsecypress
Moss Sawara Cypress
kam-e-SIP-a-ris pi-SIF-er -a
Chamaecyparis pisifera f. squarrosa
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, open conical, densely twiggy, becomes irregularly fluffy, rapid growing, a tree may gain 1.5 ft (1.6 m) per year and in 10 years reach 12-18 feet (4 - 6 m) tall, in time to 30-65 ft (10-20 m) high.  Leaves are needle-like, opposite pairs, flat, 6 mm long, stand out 45-90 degrees from the stem; foliage very feathery, soft to touch, silver-gray-green.  The dead brown twigs in the interior are unsightly.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      Introduced from Japan in 1843 by Von Siebold.
  • There are several cultivars that are related or similar to ‘Squarrosa’, but there seems to be a good deal of confusion on the names.
    • ‘Squarrosa Aurea’  -  outer yellow leaves against greenish-blue inner leaves, dwarf, slow growing to a rounded, slightly upright plant, to about 3 ft (0.9 m) in 10 years.
    • ‘Squarrosa Intermedia’  -  a bluish, semi-dwarf form, produces long shoots and needs trimming.
    • ‘Squarrosa Lutea’  -  sulfur-yellow foliage, grows slowly into an irregular globe, eventually 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m).
    • ‘Squarrosa Minima’  -  miniature globe-shaped form, less than 1 ft (30 cm) in 10 years, olive-green foliage.
    • ‘Squarrosa Sulphurea’  -  sulfur-yellow foliage, especially in spring, globe shaped shrub, dense.
  • squarrosa: from the Latin meaning rough, with reference to the scaly leaves which spread outward.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: northwest corner of Women's Building (two large trees).
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, old trees

    plant habit, old trees

  • green foliage, with typical brown dead foliage

    green foliage, with typical brown dead foliage

  • needles


  • branchlets and developing cones

    branchlets and developing cones

  • branchlets and immature seed cones

    branchlets and immature seed cones

  • branchlets and mature cones

    branchlets and mature cones

  • branchlets, comparison

    branchlets, comparison

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark