Native to the eastern Mediterranean region including parts of North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, this evergreen coniferous tree is also known as Italian cypress, Tuscan cypress, Persian cypress, and pencil pine.  It is in the cypress family,  Cupressaceae that also includes redwoods and junipers. The trees can grow up to 115′ feet tall but usually are 40-60′. The foliage is aromatic when crushed and grows in dense sprays.  The dark gray-green leaves are scale-like and grow on rounded shoots.  Male and female cones are on the same tree. The  ovoid to oblong female cones are less than 1.5″ across  and are green ripening to brown 20-24 months after pollination.  Mediterranean cypress has been cultivated as an ornamental since ancient times and is a popular tree in suitable climates of western US especially Southern California.  The trees are very long-lived, the oldest being a specimen in Iran that is about 4,000 years old.  The genus name, Cupressus, is the Latin name for the Mediterranean cypress.  The specific epithet, sempervirens, is from the Latin words semper meaning always, and virere, meaning to be green, and refers to the foliage.

Type: Coniferous evergreen tree

Outstanding Feature: Picturesque form

Form: Columnar with conical crown

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Not applicable

Size: 40-115′ H x 10-20′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained but tolerates some drought

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Low maintence

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but spider mites and canker can be a problem.

Propagation: Cuttings in winter, seed

Outstanding Selections: ‘Stricta’ (columnar)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen