Sawara False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

The sawara, or Japanese, false cypress can grow up to 70 feet high, however its dwarf species is more commonly used in home landscapes for foundation plantings, hedges, or rock gardens. This tree has medium green needles that have white underside markings. The small cones are green in the summer and eventually mature to a brown-black.

Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress)

Characteristics: Needles are medium green and have a white tint underneath. Cones are small (quarter-inch across). They appear green in the summer and turn black-brown when ripe. Bark is red-brown and peels. This tree has a pyramidal shape. It grows 50-70 feet high and 10-20 feet wide. In cultivation, it more commonly grows 20-30 feet high.

Foliage: Evergreen (Foliage present year round)

Geographic Origin: Japan: Honshu and Kyushu (non-native)

Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenance. Does best in part shade but can also tolerate full sun. Prefers moist and well-drained soils. Wet and poor drained soils should be avoided. This tree should be sheltered from strong wind.

Number on Campus: 1

Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden