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CHAMAECYPARIS nootkatensis

Image of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

James H. Schutte

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CHAMAECYPARIS nootkatensis

Plant Common Name

Alaska Falsecypress, Nootka Falsecypress

General Description

Gentle, drooping sprays of needle leaves give the stately Nootka falsecypress an airy texture. A tall, narrowly pyramidal evergreen tree, it is native to the humid mountainous areas of northwestern North America. The pendulous branchlets have flattened sprays of scale-like needles, grayish or bluish green but without the typical white markings on the undersides of 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 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 Alaska falsecypress 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. Use it as an architecturally picturesque specimen in a lawn or at the edge of a woodland or as a focal point in a mixed border or large foundation bed. The cultivar ‘Pendula’ is perhaps more beautiful and luxurious in its foliage, growing to a shorter mature height. Other interesting foliar variations can be noted in ‘Aurea’, with yellow new growth; ‘Glauca’ with blue foliage; and ‘Variegata’ with green needles that have pale yellow flecks.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

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

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-80' / 9.1m - 24.4m (45)

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • 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

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Purple, Brown

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Sea Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Orange Red, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No