False cypress trees

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
False cypress trees
Lawson's cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Lawson's cypress ( Chamaecyparis lawsoniana )

Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Coniferopsida
Order : Conifers (Coniferales)
Family : Cypress family (Cupressaceae)
Subfamily : Cupressoideae
Genre : False cypress trees
Scientific name

The false cypresses ( Chamaecyparis [ kʰamae̯ˈkyparɪs ] <agriech. Χαμαί [ kʰaˈmae̯ ] 'on the ground' and κυπάρρισσος [ kyˈparːisːos ] “cypress”) form a genus of plants in the family of the cypress family (Cupressaceae). They are so similar to the real cypress that the botanists of the 19th century assigned the false cypress species to the genus of the real cypress ( Cupressus ). The difference to the real cypress is that false cypresses have more flattened branches and two kinds of scale-like leaves as well as smaller cones and the seeds ripen earlier. The approximately five species ( Chamaecyparis ) are common in the northern latitudes of North America and East Asia ( Japan and Taiwan ) ( Holarctic ).


Hinoki cypress ( Chamaecyparis obtusa )
White cypress ( Chamaecyparis thyoides )

They are evergreen trees with a pyramidal habit or rarely shrubs . The individual with the greatest height of the genus is a Chamaecyparis formosensis with a trunk diameter ( chest height diameter ) of 6.56 meters and a height of 55 meters in the administrative area Miaoli Tai An on the Da An river in Taiwan , this specimen is called "juwu bashen mu" there ("Huge wood of God") called. The oldest tree of the genus is in Taiwan and is probably around 3000 years old. The scale-like leaves are arranged in four rows on the branches and closely overlap.

They are single sexed ( monoecious ). The male cones are mostly ovoid, mostly red, otherwise yellow; they contain six to eight microsporophylls with two to four pollen sacs each . The female cones stand at the branch ends and are spherical, usually bluish at the beginning, otherwise green or purple, turning brown as they ripen. They consist of eight to twelve cone scales. There are usually two seeds per fertile cone scale, but one to five can be observed. It takes about six months from pollination to maturity of the seeds. One to 20 seeds are produced per cone. The reddish-brown seeds have two membranous wings of equal size on the sides.

Seedlings usually have two, rarely three cotyledons .


All parts of the plant are poisonous. The essential oils have a very strong irritant effect on the skin and mucous membranes. When taken orally , nausea, vomiting and diarrhea occur first.

Important phytonutrients are thujene , pinene and other terpenes .

Sawara cypress ( Chamaecyparis pisifera )
In the center: White cypress ( Chamaecyparis thyoides ) on Lake Atsion in the New Jersey Pine Barrens (USA)

Systematics and distribution

The false cypress species ( Chamaecyparis ) are native to the northern latitudes of North America and East Asia ( Japan and Taiwan ) ( Holarctic ), see also the species.

A distinction is made in the genus False Cypress ( Chamaecyparis ) five species and the following subspecies and varieties:

  • Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum. : This rare species is native to northern and central Taiwan at altitudes between 1000 and 2900 meters.
  • Lawson's false cypress ( Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A.Murray) Parl. ): This species is native to southwestern Oregon and northwestern California.
  • Hinoki false cypress ( Chamaecyparis obtusa (Sieb. & Zucc.) Endl. ), Also known as shell cypress or fire false cypress: This species is native to Taiwan. There are two varieties:
    • Chamaecyparis obtusa var. Obtusa : It occurs in southern and south-central Japan.
    • Chamaecyparis obtusa var. Formosana (Hayata) Rehder (Syn .: Chamaecyparis obtusa forma formosana Hayata , Chamaecyparis taiwanensis Masamune & Suzuki ): It occurs in northern and central Taiwan.
  • Sawara false cypress , also called pea-fruited false cypress, ( Chamaecyparis pisifera (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl. ): This species is native to southern Honshu and central Kyushu in Japan.
  • White cypress ( Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb. ): This species is native to the eastern United States. There are two subspecies:
    • Chamaecyparis thyoides subsp. thyoides : It occurs in the eastern United States.
    • Chamaecyparis thyoides subsp. henryae (HLLi) E. Murray (Syn .: Chamaecyparis henryae H.L. Li , Chamaecyparis thyoides var. henryae (HLLi) Little ): It occurs in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

For a long time the species Nootka false cypress or Nutka false cypress ( Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Spach ) was placed in the genus Chamaecyparis ; since 2002/2004 it has belonged to the genus Xanthocyparis as Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Farjon & DKHarder ; but is also called Callitropsis nootkatensis (D.Don) Oerst by some authors . to the genus Callitropis .


Some Chamaecyparis species and their cultivated forms are ornamental plants for parks and gardens.


Individual evidence

  1. Christopher J. Earle: Chamaecyparis formosensis. The Gymnosperm Database, 2013
  2. a b c d e f g h Rafaël Govaerts (ed.): Chamaecyparis. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  3. Walter Erhardt , Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: The great zander. Encyclopedia of Plant Names. Volume 2. Types and varieties. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7 .
  4. Damon P. Little, Andrea E. Schwarzbach, Robert P. Adams, Chang-Fu Hsieh: The circumscription and phylogenetic relationships of Callitropsis and the newly described genus Xanthocyparis (Cupressaceae). In: American Journal of Botany , Issue 91, 2004, pp. 1872-1881. Full text online.

Web links

Commons : Chamaecyparis  - collection of images, videos and audio files