Hesperocyparis glabra
Common name: 
Smooth Arizona Cypress
HES-per-oh-SIP-air-iss GLAH-bra
Callitropsis glabra
Cupressus glabra
Cupressus arizonica var. glabra
Cupressus arizonica subsp. glabra
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, but may be shrub-like when subject to fires, dense, columnar with age, usually 20-40 ft (6-12 m) tall, sometimes less than 2 ft (0.6 m) wide but widens with age.  Outer bark continually flakes away, revealing the very attractive smooth, cherry-red inner bark.  Leaves are scale-like, 3 or 4 angled in cross-section, 2-3 mm long, sharply acuminate, keeled, highly glaucous giving the foliage a blue-green cast, they are usually conspicuously dotted with tiny white flecks which are pit-like, resin glands.  Cones globose or oblong, about 2.5 cm, gray or brown, often glaucous at first, 3-4 pairs of scales, smooth or with scattered resin blisters.
  • Sun
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 7      Smooth Arizona Cypress is native to the mountains of central Arizona.  The range of Arizona Cypress, Cupressus arizonica, extents from Arizona into Mexico and east to New Mexico and Texas and west to California.
  • The species, Cupressus glabra (Cupressus arizonica), has been separated into as many as 5 varieties (var.), namely, arizonica, glabra, montanta, nevadensis and stephensonii.  The Flora of North America does not recognize any varieties, although all at one time were described as separate species.  The following is from the Flora of North America (www.efloras.org): Bark texture and foliage features have been used to distinguish geographic varieties or segregate species [of Cupressus arizonica].  Although bark texture may be consistent within populations, over the species as a whole there is complete intergradation between smooth and fibrous barks.
  • More 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 (Smooth) Arizona Cypress being classified as Cupressus glabraCallitropsis glabra, and more recently as Hesperocyparis glabra.  As of 2024 Hesperocyparis (western cypress), (hesperus, -a, -um; Latin, of the west, western) is listed as the correct 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
  • glabra: smooth, a reference to the bark.
  • Salem, OR: Bush Prairie Park, east of Bush House.


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit (The Oregon Garden)

    plant habit (The Oregon Garden)

  • plant habit (Denver Bot. Garden)

    plant habit (Denver Bot. Garden)

  • plant habit, older tree (Santa Cruz Arboretum)

    plant habit, older tree (Santa Cruz Arboretum)

  • branches and branchlets

    branches and branchlets

  • branchlets and cone

    branchlets and cone

  • leaves


  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark