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Chamaecyparis obtusa - (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.

Common Name Japanese cypress
Family Cupressaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Occurs where sympatric with C. pisifera, on wetter sites e.g. near mountain streams or in hollows with ground water near the surface. In those wet places trees can spread by the layering of branches to form small groves of clonal individuals. It is a minor constituent in mixed conifer/angiosperm forests. Its altitudinal range is from 280 m to 2600 m a.s.l. [1-7]
Range Native to central Japan and widely cultivated in the temperate northern hemisphere.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Chamaecyparis obtusa Japanese cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa Japanese cypress
Crusier wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Chamaecyparis obtusa is an evergreen Tree growing to 40 m (131ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. breviramea Maxim. C. taiwanensis Masam. & Suzuki. Cupressus obtusa K. Koch. Retinospora obtusa Siebold & Zucc.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None Known

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Other Uses

Agroforestry: Shade and shelter. A good pioneer species. General:Ornamental. Materials: Essential oils, Pesticide, Wood/timber. Wood Products: Sawn or hewn building timbers,Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior), For light construction. Shingles, Wall panelling [1-7].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers full sun on moist, well-drained soil, in areas of moderate to high humidity, and preferably where the trees can be protected from harsh winds. It is fairly free of pests and diseases. There are many cultivars, some quite dwarf. Other cultivars have excellent foliage coloration orunusual growth habit. Cultivars include:'Aurea' -golden foliage: 'Caespitosa' - rare, miniature, about six inches tall;'Compacta' - dwarf, about three feet tall,dense, conical;'Coralliformis' - branchlets reddish and contorted; 'Crippsii' - broad pyramid with spreading branches and golden foliage;'Erecta' - columnar habit;'Ericoides' - low, blue-gray foliage, 'Filicoides' -fern-like; 'Gracilis' - compact growth habit, tips of branchlets pendulous;'Kosteri' - dwarf, three to four feet tall, branch tips curved;'Mariesii' - dwarf, foliage variegated with yellowish white; 'Nana' - very dwarf, height and spread of two feet;'Pygmaea' - dwarf, two feet tall, wider than tall; 'Stoneham' - slow, dwarf, tiered branching; 'Tetragona' - slow, dwarf, erect.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow March/April in a seedbed outdoors[78]. The seed is best sown in pots in a frame[K]. Seed can take 18 months to germinate. One month warm then one month cold stratification has produced good results[113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings in late summer or autumn in sandy soil in a cold frame[1, 11, 200]. Difficult, it may be best done in late winter to early spring[113].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Japanese cypress, Hinoki cypress, Hinoki. Hinoki false cypress; Japanese false cypress. French: faux cypres Japonais. Local Common Names: Germany: hinoki Scheinzypresse. Italy: cipresso di hinoki. Japan: hinoki. Netherlands: hinoki-cipres. Taiwan: Taiwan yellow cypress; yellow hinoki.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not Listed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Chamaecyparis lawsonianaLawson Cypress, Port orford cedar, Oregon Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Lawson's CypressTree25.0 5-7 MLMHSNDM013
Chamaecyparis nootkatensisNootka Cypress, Nootka Cypress, Yellow Cypress, Alaska CedarTree15.0 4-8 MLMHSNDM013
Chamaecyparis pisiferaSawara cypressTree40.0 4-8 MLMHSNM003
Chamaecyparis thyoidesWhite Cypress, Atlantic white cedar, Coast White Cedar, Southern White Cedar, White CypressTree10.0 4-9 SLMHSNDMWe013
Santolina chamaecyparissusCotton LavenderShrub0.6 6-9 FLMNDM223

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.

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