Chamaecyparis funebris (Endl.) Franco

Funeral Cypress

Accepted name: Cupressus funebris

Tree 15-20 m tall. Bark brownish grey, fibrous, slightly fissured. Branchlets long-pendulous, sprays long and narrow, flattened. Leaves in more or less equal-lengthed opposed pairs, lateral ones with spreading tips, grey-green to dark green. Male cones terminal on branchlets, about 4 mm long and twice the width of the branchlet, prolific in June-July. Female cones about 8-12 mm wide, more or less spherical, on thin, curved stalks, bluish green when young, later dark brown and ripening in the second year; scales 8, each with 3-5 shiny pale brown seeds.

Cultivated in China near temples, tombs and monasteries. Specimen trees are a feature of old parks, gardens and cemeteries but the species is now rarely available in the nursery trade.

C China.

Timber used commercially largely for construction work.

Narrow, flat, pendulous sprays; leaves, especially laterals, with minute spreading point (lens); cones small, blue-green when young; cf. Cupressus lusitanica var. benthamii. This species has characters intermediate between those of Cupressus and Chamaecyparis. The flattened sprays of foliage and small cones with 3-5 seeds per scale are similar to Chamaecyparis. However, like Cupressus the cones ripen in the second year. Chemical biflavanoid analysis indicates a close relationship with Asiatic Cupressus while heartwood chemicals closely resemble those of the European C. sempervirens.

Silba (1982).

NSW: Armidale (Central Park); Bathurst (cemetery); Berrima (cemetery; church by Berrima Park, both c. 100 years old); Bowral (Station); Camden (St John's Anglican Church); Goulburn (Belmore Park); Mt Tomah Bot. Gds; Orange (Cook Park, ptd c. 1878); Kinross Wolaroi School; Olympic Swimming Pool entrance); Ournie (Jephcott Arboretum, large tree above road - cones unusually large); Sydney (Concord, 'Rivendell', Thomas Walker Hospital, 1 tree on main lawn in front of hospital c. 20 m tall; Royal Bot. Gds) ACT: Duntroon College Officers Mess; Reid (St John's Church possibly ptd c.1880). VIC: Ballarat (Bot. Gds); Beechworth (cemetery); Bendigo (75 Old Violet St); Buchan (Caves); Burnley (V.C.A.H.); Carlton (Exhibition Gardens); Castlemaine (Bot. Gds; Campbell's Creek Cemetery, probably supplied by F. Mueller); Domain (Behind La Trobe's Cottage and Domain Rd end of walk to Shrine); Hamilton (Bot. Gds); Footscray (Park); Kew (Boroondara Cemetery; Methodist Ladies College); Koroit (Bot. Gds); Kyneton (Bot. Gds); Maldon ('Glendonald'); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds to west of kiosk); Mt Macedon ('Forest Glades'). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds, old tree by main office; Queens Domain); Launceston (City Park); Plenty (Salmon Ponds).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Cupressaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Chamaecyparis funebris 'Aurea'

Straight-trunked tree with soft golden foliage. Origin unknown.