James H. Schutte
Plant Common Name
Alaska Falsecypress, Nootka Falsecypress
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.
AHS Heat Zone
7 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 7
A2, A3, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17
Needled or Scaled Evergreen
Full Sun, Partial Sun
30'-80' / 9.1m - 24.4m (45)
15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m
North America, Northwestern United States, Alaska, Canada