Hesperocyparis lusitanica
Common name: 
Mexican Cypress
HES-per-oh-SIP-air-iss lu-si-TAN-i-ka
Cupressus lusitanica
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, large, to about 100 ft (30 m), wide spreading, branches nodding at tips, stem red brown, bark is longitudinally grooved.  Leaves blue-green, in 4 rows, ovate, densely appressed, usually with long sharp pointed tips.  Cones globose, about 12 mm wide, short stalked, 6-8 scales, with a stout, recurved thorn in the center.
  • Sun
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 7      Native to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, not from Portugal as the name lusitanica ("of Portugal") suggests.  The term lusitanica refers to the very early cultivation of the species in Portugal.  Plants were imported from Mexico to a monastery near Coimbra, Portugal in about 1634.  The species was not described botanically until over 130 years later in 1768 by Phillip Miller, who named it Cupressus lusitanica. In 2009 a paper was published moving this species and most of the Cupressus of western North America to the new genus, Hesperocyparis.  As of 2024 this is listed as the accepted species name with no subspecies or varieties by Plants of the World OnlineWorld Flora Online, and the Gymnosperm Database.(Wikipedia). For details, click on the Genus Hesperocyparis above.
  • The cultivar 'Blue Swirl' is a compact dwarf tree/shrub, with dense, fern-like, blue-green foliage
  • lusitanica: of Portugal (Lusitanica)...but see above.
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