The Attractive And Versatile Cupressus Macrocarpa

One of the cultivars of Cupressus macrocarpa is Goldcrest (Monterey Cypress). Cupressus macrocarpa has the common name of Monterey cypress or macrocarpa. There are small endemic populations of the tree at Monterey and Carmel in California. These two groups are all that is left of a once extensive forest along the west coast. It is one of the New World cypresses and, along with others of its’ type, is now often classified as Callitropsis macrocarpa.

The remnant forest in California is small groves in Point Lobos State Reserve and Del Monte Forest. Trees in the area have been verified as 2,000 years old. These regions have cool, humid summers and sea fog is a constant phenomena.

Cupressus macrocarpa is also found in western Oregon, Great Britain, Portugal, Sicily, Italy, Greece, Ireland and France. It has become naturalized in New Zealand and is well regarded there. It is now grown in Kenya with experimental crops being trialled for timber. It is a popular ornamental tree and widely grown along the coast of California where it appears in both private and public gardens.

In its’ native areas, the trees are stunted and flat-topped with twisted trunks and wide-spreading crowns. Under ideal conditions, it can reach heights of 40 meters with trunk diameters of 2.5 meters or more. It has dense sprays of bright-green foliage and rough, fibrous bark.

The cypress makes a lovely ornamental tree. In New Zealand, it is also used for fence posts and as a windbreak and shelter tree. It is often grown in rows or belts for this purpose. The foliage may cause abortion in cattle as it is slightly toxic. The absence of native diseases allows it to reach much greater heights than in its’ native areas. As a timber, its’striking colors are highly regarded by craftspeople and furniture makers. Small manufacturers and boat builders also use the timber. Although it burns well as firewood, it produces a lot of sparks and is not suitable for open fireplaces.

It thrives in oceanic areas with cool summers. Away from the coastal fog belt and in areas with hot summers, it may become infected with the fungal disease, cypress canker. In it’s native habitat, it relies on fire to force open the cones thus allowing the seeds to disperse. Cones sometimes open after hot summer days. At Point Lobos, regeneration is slow and fire treatments are being considered.

A number of cultivars have been developed to take advantage of one or other of the cypress’s distinguishing characteristics. Goldcrest and Lutea are popular as garden varieties. Both have yellow-green foliage. Goldcrest has been given the distinction of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Golden Merit.

Cupressus macrocarpa cultivars have differing attributes. Brunniana aurea has an attractive conical shape while Gold Rocket is narrower. If you like blue-green foliage, the dwarf form, Greenstead Magnificent, would be sure to please. Where the climate is not ideal and especially if the soil is poor, a good choice would be Lambertiana aurea. This is hardy and tough. Another very pretty cultivar is Aurea saligna which has long, weeping branches that cascade towards the ground. If you are looking for a striking specimen tree, it would be hard to go past Cupressus macrocarpa.

The Striking Cupressus Macrocarpa Makes A Stunning Specimen Tree

There have been a number of very attractive cultivars developed from the Cupressus macrocarpa. Goldcrest (Monterey cypress) is one of these. Monterey cypress or macrocarpa are common names for this cypress. These were endemic to the Californian coast but now only two patches remain of what were once large forests. These areas are Monterey and Carmel, in California. Cupressus macrocarpa is one of the New World cypresses. These are now being reclassified as Callitropsis macrocarpa.

What was once an extensive forest on the west coast has been reduced to two small groves. One is in the Point Lobos State Reserve and the other is the Del Monte Forest. Some of the trees here are over 2,000 years old. Cool, humid summers are a feature of these areas as is constant fog from the sea.

The Cupressus macrocarpa is now widespread through many of the Mediterranean countries as well as in Great Britain and Ireland. It also grows in western Oregon. It now grows wild in New Zealand and has many admirers. Experimental plantations have been planted in Kenya with a view to it becoming used as a timber crop. It is a popular specimen tree in its native California where it is grown in both domestic and public gardens.

The remnants of the cypress forests in California have been sculpted by the wind, making the boughs and trunks twisted and gnarled. The trees are flat-topped and stunted with widely spreading crowns. When conditions are ideal, the trees can reach 40 meters with diameters of over 2.5 meters. The foliage is bright green and the bark is rough and fibrous.

This is a versatile tree. It is often planted in belts and rows to provide shelter and windbreaks. The leaves have been known to cause abortion in cattle. Boat builders, furniture makers and woodworkers admire it for its color. Some of the largest examples are seen in New Zealand where the tree does not have to contend with native diseases. It is highly regarded as an ornamental specimen. It burns well when used as firewood but creates a lot of sparks.

Cypress canker, a fungal disease, often affects this tree in areas with hot summers. It prefers oceanic regions and cool summers. In its native areas, the cypress propagates itself when wildfires cause the cones to burst open thus dispersing the seeds. Summer days may be hot enough to burst the cones. Because regeneration is low in the Point Lobos region, fire treatment is being considered.

Garden enthusiasts have developed a number of cultivars. Some of these are grown for their foliage and others for their shape. The Royal Horticultural Society has granted the cultivar Goldcrest the Award of Golden Merit. Lutea is another which has similar yellow-green foliage.

If you are looking for a conical shape, Brunniana aurea would be suitable. Gold Rocket has a narrow, erect shape while Greenstead Magnificent is a dwarf form with blue-green foliage. For areas with suspect climatic conditions and poor soil, Lambertiana aurea is hardy and tough. Aurea saligna has a weeping habit with long cascading branches. For an attractive specimen tree, it would be hard to better Cupressus macrocarpa.

The Versatile And Attractive Cupressus Macrocarpa

Cupressus macrocarpa is probably more commonly known as macrocarpa or Monterey cypress. Goldcrest (Monterey cypress) is one of the striking cultivars developed from Cupressus macrocarpa. There are remnant endemic forests at Carmel and Monterey in California. Forests of the macrocarpa once stretched down the west coast. It is one of the New World cypresses. These are now being reclassified and renamed as Callitropsis macrocarpa.

Although the trees once flourished right down the Californian coast, they are now restricted to two small areas. One is an area in Point Lobos State Reserve. The Del Monte Forest also contains ancient cypress trees. Some of these are estimated at over 2,000 years old. Climatic conditions in these areas include constant fog which comes in off the ocean and cool but humid summers.

IN the United States, the Monterey cypress is also found in western Oregon. It has firmly established itself in New Zealand to the point of becoming naturalized. Great Britain, Ireland and countries around the Mediterranean are also home to this tree. In Kenya it is being trialled as a timber crop. There are many specimens grown along the coast of California where it is just as popular in public parks as it is in suburban gardens.

The ancient coastal trees have gnarled, twisted trunks. They are stunted and flat-topped with wide, spreading crowns. In areas more suited to their culture, heights of 40 meters are not uncommon and diameters may reach nearly 3 meters. They have rough, fibrous bark and bright green foliage carried in dense sprays.

The cypress has a number of uses. It makes a good windbreak and shelter tree when grown in belts or rows. In New Zealand the timber is used for fence posts. An absence of native diseases in New Zealand gives rise to some of the largest specimens. The leaves have a slight toxicity to livestock and can cause abortion in cattle. Craftspeople, boat builders and furniture makers have high regard for the attractive grain and color of the timber. As an ornamental tree it has few peers. As firewood, it burns well and produces good heat. However it is not a good choice for open fires as it produces a lot of sparks.

The ideal environment will be near the coast in areas with cool summers. Hot summers often result in an outbreak of cypress canker. This fungal disease causes the trees to die after a few years. Under natural conditions, the cones open and disperse their seeds during periods of fire although hot summer days sometimes cause the cones to burst. In Point Lobos, treatment with fire is being considered as regeneration is very low.

There are a number of attractive cultivars. Lutea and Goldcrest are both highly regarded for their yellow-green foliage. The latter has been awarded the Award of Golden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Cultivars may have slightly different forms. Brunniana aurea is conical while Gold Rocket is narrow and erect. A dwarf form is Greenstead Magnificent which has blue-green foliage. Lambertiana aurea is a hardy variety which will grow in poor soil and less than ideal climatic regions. Aurea saligna has long cascades of weeping branches. Cupressus macrocarpa has a number of attractive features.