Cupressus sempervirens Pinaceae
Italian or Mediterranean Cypress ku-PRES-us sem-per-VI-renz
- Conifer, evergreen tree, two forms: (a) var. horizontalis, branches spreading, the form found in the wild; (b) var. sempervirens (syn. var. stricta, 'Stricta', 'Fastigiata'), branches ascending, columnar, this is the form most often in cultivation. Leaves uniform, scale-like, rhombic, obtuse, dull dark green. Cones subglobose or ellipsoid, 2-3 cm across, 8-14 scales, contracted into a small point, sometimes flat or slightly impressed in the middle, green at first, maturing brown about 20-24 months after pollination. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and release pollen in spring.
- Sun, drought tolerant. Common in the Italian countryside, as well as southern California, and prominent in stylized gardens.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (7) 8 Native to the mountains of northern Iran, Turkey, Crete, and Cypress; introduced into Italy in ancient times and naturalized throughout much of the Mediterranean region.
- Selections frequently available include:
- Glauca (syn. Glauca Stricta) - columnar, foliage silvery blue.
- Stricta - columnar, oldest form cultivated, not known in the wild, variable but more or less fastigiate (Jacobson, 1996).
- Swane's Golden - columnar, foliage golden, slower growing, originated in Australia as Stricta seedling.
- Tiny Tower™ (Monshel) - columnar, foliage bluish, small form, slow growing, 8 x 2 ft (2.5 x 0.6 m) in 10 years, finally to 25-30 x 3 ft (7.5-9 x 0.9 m).
- sempervirens: evergreen.
- Oregon State Univ., Peavy Arboretum (Arboretum Road), along the south boundary, tree marked with a sign.