Cupressus sempervirens
Common name: 
Italian Cypress
Mediterranean Cypress
ku-PRES-us sem-per-VI-renz
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, two forms: (a) var. horizontalis, branches spreading, the form found in the wild; (b) var. sempervirens (syn. var. stricta, 'Stricta', 'Fastigiata'), branches ascending, columnar, this is the form most often in cultivation.  Leaves uniform, scale-like, rhombic, obtuse, dull dark green.  Cones subglobose or ellipsoid, 2-3 cm across, 8-14 scales, contracted into a small point, sometimes flat or slightly impressed in the middle, green at first, maturing brown about 20-24 months after pollination.  The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and release pollen in spring.
  • Sun, drought tolerant.   Common in the Italian countryside, as well as southern California, and prominent in stylized gardens.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (7) 8         Native to the mountains of northern Iran, Turkey, Crete, and Cypress; introduced into Italy in ancient times and naturalized throughout much of the Mediterranean region.
  • Selections frequently available include:
    • ‘Glauca’  (syn. ‘Glauca Stricta’)  -  columnar, foliage silvery blue.
    • ‘Stricta’  -  columnar, oldest form cultivated, not known in the wild, variable but more or less fastigiate (Jacobson, 1996).
    • ‘Swane's Golden’  -  narrow columnar tree, new foliage is golden yellow
    •  Tiny Tower™  (‘Monshel’)  -  columnar, foliage bluish, small form, slow growing
  • sempervirens: evergreen.
  • Oregon State Univ., Peavy Arboretum (Arboretum Road), along the south boundary, tree marked with a sign.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, on a hillside in Montenegro

    plant habit, on a hillside in Montenegro

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit, a very columnar selection

    plant habit, a very columnar selection

  • branchlets


  • branchlets, close-up

    branchlets, close-up

  • leaves


  • cone development

    cone development

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark