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CHAMAECYPARIS nootkatensis 'Aurea'

Image of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Aurea'

Mark A. Miller



Botanical Name

CHAMAECYPARIS nootkatensis 'Aurea'

Plant Common Name

Alaska Falsecypress, Golden Alaska Falsecypress

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Selected in Germany in 1891, ‘Aurea,’ is a colorful selection of Alaska falsecypress with bright yellow new spring growth that slowly matures to bright medium green. A tall, pyramid-like evergreen tree, it is native to the humid mountainous areas of northwestern North America.

The long, semi-pendulous foliage is found in flattened, vertically held sprays of scale-like needles below the branches. The needles emerge yellow and fade to yellow-green by early summer and then mature to medium green. The foliage lacks the white markings on the needle undersides common in other falsecypress species. If crushed, the needles release a skunk-like odor. Male and female cones appear in spring, but are small and unshowy; the pea-size female cones are purple and green, eventually ripening to a coppery tan in the second year. The sparse, open twigs and bark of this tree are a grayed orange-brown, with the trunk bark exfoliating in strips to reveal lighter shades of rusty orange.

Grow ‘Aurea’ -- the golden Alaska falsecypess -- in full or partial sun in a deep, moist, acidic, well-drained loam for finest development. This species loves soil moisture and lots of ambient humidity. It is also cold hardy and tolerant of salt spray. It makes an architecturally picturesque specimen for a variety of situations, all of which place the plant in a visually prominent spot. Mixed borders, foundation plantings, parks, cemeteries, and graceful lawns will all look more lush in company with this tree.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    25'-50' / 7.6m - 15.2m (35)

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Native To

    North America, Northwestern United States, Alaska, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances


  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Fruit Color

    Green, Purple, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gray Green, Dark Green, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Orange Red, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing