Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw.

Monterey Cypress

A tree growing to 35 m tall in cultivation and extremely variable in habit, ranging from columnar or fastigiate, as in the cultivar 'Fastigiata', to widespread and flat-topped with sweeping lateral branches like the Cedar of Lebanon, as in the cultivar 'Horizontalis', better known as Lambert's Cypress. Bark brown to almost white on old trees and shallowly ridged. Sprays pale green and distinctly lemon-scented at the tips when young but becoming darker and weaker scented with age. Leaves 1-2 mm long, blunt and swollen towards the tip. Male cones about 5 mm long, at tips of the branchlets, produced Oct-Apr. Female cones 2-3 cm wide, more or less spherical; scales 8-12. Seeds slightly warty.

Extremely rare in the wild where known from only two localities in a 3-4 km strip along the rocky Monterey County coast, California. A widely cultivated tree, especially in Australia and New Zealand where several cultivars have originated, but also commonly cultivated in the temperate zone in public parks, gardens, cemeteries and farms although the species is now being replaced by its cultivars. Monterey Cypress appeared in Victorian nursery catalogues as early as 1857 and 1860 and was soon widely available. It is grown mostly for shelter and the widespreading cultivar 'Horizontalis' is used mainly as a windbreak. Together with the Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata, Monterey Cypress is a strong landscape element in many country areas of south-eastern Australia, the success of these two conifers being no doubt due in part to their origin from a similar climatic zone. In Victoria the cypress is a feature of the Western District, the plains west of Geelong, the Mornington Peninsula and elsewhere but the Canberra climate appears to be unsuitable. Occasionally it is used as a hedging plant that can be clipped into various shapes as topiary. Examples of fine hedges in Victoria can be seen at the Ashcombe Maze on the Mornington Peninsula, and a large hedge with the property name 'Plainbrook' clipped into it and clearly visible from the Princes Highway about 16 km west of Winchelsea, similarly at 'Coombe Cottage', Coldstream. Sometimes effective use of this cypress has been made for coastal planting as, for example, in Victoria the main avenues through Cowes, old plantings at Queenscliff, and seaside avenues at Apollo Bay and Lakes Entrance planted c. 1905. Unfortunately older trees have developed a reputation for dropping large branches. Naturalised on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

USA (Monterey, California).

Mature foliage dark green, new growth smelling of lemon when crushed; cones large, round.

SA: Birdwood ('St Albans', Pool St, topiary); Dirk Dirk (near Nelson Presbyterian Church); Mt Gambier (Bot. Gds); Penola (Yallum Park). NSW: Mt Wilson ('Yengo' ptd c. 1887); Orange (Cook Park); Wagga Wagga (Victory Memorial Gds). ACT: CSIRO Division of Wildlife (driveway, ptd c. 1880); Yarralumla (driveway to Government House ptd pre- 1900; Lennox Gds, ptd early 1900's). VIC: Box Hill (cemetery - broadly conical plants can be seen on the axial E-W avenue and E boundary); Ballarat (Bot. Gds, also a long avenue leaving Ballarat on the Avoca Road); Caulfield (Park); Coburg (cemetery); Essendon (Queens Park); Footscray (Park); Kew (Victoria Park; boundary Genezzano College, Cotham Rd.); Maldon (behind museum); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, Hopetoun Lawn, also above and below the Plant Craft Cottage, Victoria's finest specimens, now rather aged possibly ptd in 1860s); Mt Waverley (Jells Park, above Visitor Centre). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds); Launceston (Cormiston Road, c. 100 years old in 1990 c. 30 m tall); Plenty (Salmon Ponds); Port Arthur (Commemorative World War I avenue); Westbury (Common).


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.

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Cupressus macrocarpa 'Beaufront'

Prostrate with deep green, compact foliage. Found as a witch's broom by p Nitschke &r. Radford at Beaufront Estate in the Midlands, Tasmania and introduced in 1983.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Brunniana Aurea'

('Brunniana') Conical tree with dense, gold foliage. Grows about 7 m in 10 years. Seedling sport raised by Brunnings Nursery in Melbourne c. 1915.

NSW: Sydney (Centennial Park).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Brunniana Variegated'

A white variegated form of 'Brunniana Aurea' showing its variegation best when grown in some shade. Grows about 6 m in 10 years. Discovered by John Emery, Australia.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Chandleri'

Irregular small tree with dark green compact foliage that swirls around the trunk. Chandlers Nsy, Hobart, Tasmania, unregistered.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Coneybearii Aurea'

Weeping tree, sparsely branched, branchlets long and thin, whiplike, yellow. Most impressive as a large tree but the foliage tending to revert to green. This is possibly also sold and listed under the names 'Aurea Saligna', 'Coneybearii', 'Filipendula' (often described as a green form of 'Conybearii'), 'Pendula Aurea', 'Pendula' and 'Saligna Aurea'. Research is needed to ascertain whether this was raised from seed at Woolrich Nsy, Olinda, Victoria in 1920s and introduced by Hazelwood Bros, Epping, New South Wales, 1933. The original plant was probably purchased by a Dr Coneybear in the 1920s.

NSW: Wagga Wagga (Bot. Gds). Vic: Bendigo (Base Hospital, ptd c. 1870); Box Hill (Gds); Caulfield (Park); Dandenongs ('Pirianda'); Emerald (Nobelius Nsy site); Footscray (Park); Kew (235 Cotham Rd); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, Hopetoun Lawn); Wandin (Mebourne City Council Nursery). Tas: Claremont (entrance to Cadbury's factory).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Donard Gold'

Broadly conical ttree with dense pure gold foliage. Slieve Donard Nsy, Newcastle, N Ireland in 1940s.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Fastigiata'

Branches almost upright forming a large columnar tree. A few old trees remain but this cultivar is no longer available. The name is probably best regarded as a group name for a range of fastigiate clones. Introduced to uk by Lambert in 1938 but occasionally arising spontaneously from seed batches.

Vic: Box Hill (Oval near Canterbury & Elgar Rds); Fitzroy (Edinburgh Gardens); Geelong (Johnstone Park); Melbourne (Domain near La Trobe's Cottage). Tas: Hobart (massive tree in front of Calvary Hospital, Anguston Rd, presumed to be this cultivar).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest'

Narrowly columnar tree with golden foliage, the juvenile leaves borne for several years. Raised Treseder Nsy, Truro, UK c. 1948.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Golden Halo'

Low, spreading habit with drooping, yellow-tipped foliage. Will grow iregularly. Sport of C. macrocarpa 'Golden Spread' and selected in 1977 by New Zealand nurseryman D.J. Liddle of Waikanae.

Liddle (1991), Plant Variety Rights.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Golden Pillar'

Slow growing, columnar to conical, fastigiate, with bright yellow foliage becoming yellowish green with age. Introduced by Geo Jackman Nsy, Woking, Surrey, uk and possibly originating from the Netherlands in the 1940's.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Greenstead Emerald'

Differing from 'Greenstead Magnifica' in having a clearly different pale green colouring. Sport on 'Greenstead Magnificent' selected by John Emery, Drue Nursery, Berry, New South Wales, Australia.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Greenstead Magnificent'

('Greenstead Magnifica') a dense, widespreading blue-green, low to almost prostrate plant w ith the foliage drooping at the tips, often grafted to form a weeping standard. A bud mutation on an old specimen of 'Horizontalis'. Originated and introduced by Roger Hall of c.f. Newman &Son of Tee Tree Gully, a Hope Valley vineyard in South Australia (Seed and Nursery Trader, Jan. 1970).

SA: Adelaide (Bot. Gds); Stirling ('Beechwood').

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Greenstead Variegated'

Same habit as 'Greenstead Magnificent' but with white and yellow variegations that do not burn in full sun. Grows less than 5 cm a year. Sport of 'Greenstead Magnificent originating from Newmans Nursery, South Australia; introduced Peter Nitschke in 1980s.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Hodginsii'

Deep green foliage flecked with cream. A conical tree with horizontal branches and evenly distributed dark green and white variegations; it is sometimes sold as 'Horizontalis Hodginsii'. Hodgins Nsy, Essendon, Melbourne, 1890s.

Vic: Dandenongs (Boulters Nursery); Footscray (Footscray Park); Olinda (Olinda Crt).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Horizontalis Aurea'

('Aurea', 'Lambertiana Aurea') a golden variant of 'Horizontalis'. 'Aurea' is an illegitimate name used for a clone derived in Australia from a tree originally known as C. lambertiana 'Horizontalis' (see 'Horizontalis'). It is now correctly listed as C. macrocarpa 'Horizontalis Aurea', a large tree with widespreading tiered branches and widely grown as a windbreak, especially in country areas. The Australasian of June 16 1883 reports this cultivar as introduced by Charles Wyatt's Nursery, Geelong; it is not clear if the cultivar originated from this nursery.

SA: Dirk Dirk (near Nelson Presbyterian Church); Mt Gambier (Blue Lake); Watervale (Sevenhills Winery). Vic: Kew (Boroondara Cemetery); Lorne (foreshore); Mortlake (Avenue of Honour); Pascoe Vale (273 Pascoe Vale Rd.); Watsonia (Office of Corrections, Grimshaw St); Werribee (Werribee Park Estate). tas: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Horizontalis'

(C. lambertiana Gordon, 'Lambertii') Sometimes known as Lambert's Cypress this is a variant with widespreading horizontal branches in tiers of foliage reminiscent of the Cedar of Lebanon. T. Adcock's Nursery, Geelong, Victoria and J. & J. Rules' Nursery of Richmond, Melbourne, both stocked plants under the name Cupressus horizontalis in 1857 but the name may have originated before then. Widely planted as a windbreak.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Jade'

('Mangalore') Similar to 'Beaufront' but branches slightly upright and foliage not quite so dark. Found as witch's broom at Mangalore, Tasmania by Ron Radford and Peter Nitschke and introduced c. 1981.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Lutea'

Described as golden in the first year only and with yellow cones. Large, mature specimens at Melbourne's Botanic Gardens labelled as this cultivar have pale lime-green foliage but the cones are not yellow. It is possible that some reversion has occurred on aging specimens. Dickson's Nsy, Chester, UK in the 1890s.

Vic: Leongatha (Moss Vale Park); Maroondah (Dam slopes); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, conifer border); Silvan (Dam). act: Barton (Belmore Gds; Brassey Hotel, ptd c.1920).

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Mclaren'

Small, dense, golden, upright. Derived from a witches broom found at McLaren Vale, South Australia in 1982, Peter Nitschke, unregistered.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Ragamuffin'

Dwarf, dark green, globular with foliage ends mosslike and twisted. Originated a a seedling selection by John Emery, Drue Nursery, Berry, New South Wales, Australia and introduced 1983.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Ross'

More or less prostrate; branches slightly ascending with dense, yellowish green foliage. Grows c. 10 cm a year. Found as a witch's broom in Tasmania by Ron Radford and Peter Nitschke; introduced c. 1981.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'White Lightning'

Conical, small tree with lacy foliage, greenish white in spring. Grows to 6 m in 10 years. Introduced by John Emery, Drue Nursery, Berry, New South Wales, Australia in 1980s.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Cupressaceae
genus       Cupressus L.