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Products > Cupressus macrocarpa
Cupressus macrocarpa - Monterey Cypress
Image of Cupressus macrocarpa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Cupressaceae (incl. Taxodiaceae) (Cypresses)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [Hesperocyparis macrocarpa]
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 25-40 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress) - A beautiful wind-sculpted 40+ foot evergreen California native tree. As a young tree it is pyramidal but with age and wind it is transformed into its well-known striking and picturesque form. It has bark that is at first reddish brown then aging to gray with furrows with wide spreading branches holding scale-like dark green leaves that have a lemony fragrance. The rounded cones that form solitary or a few to a cluster are about 1 inch wide.

Plant in full sun and irrigate only occasionally. It is cold hardy to around 5 degrees F. Cupressus macrocarpa is considered to be a glacial relict that once has a wider range but now only grows naturally within a few hundred yards of the Pacific Ocean on the Monterey Peninsula and at Point Lobos. As such it does best in windy coastal areas, where it is less susceptible to Coryneum Canker (Seiridium cardinale), a bark killing fungus that has killed off many Monterey Cypress, Italian Cypress and Leyland Cypress. It has been speculated that coastal plantings are better because the salt laden coastal winds decreases the fungal spore viability.

The name for the genus comes from the Latin name for the Italian cypress tree Cupressus sempervirens and the name first published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The common name "cypress" comes via the Old French cipres from the Latin cyparissus, which is the latinisation of the Greek kypárissos. In Greek mythology, Kyparissos was a boy beloved by Apollo who turns the boy into a cypress tree so his tears can fall forever after he accidentally kills his pet deer. The specific epithet comes from the Greek words 'makros' meaning "long" or "large" and 'karpos' meaning fruit in reference to this species large cones.

Recent genetic research has shown that the Western Hemisphere cypresses are a well-supported clade that are quite separate from the Eastern Hemisphere species and a new genus, Hesperocyparis, has been erected for the New World cypresses while the Old World plants retain the name Cupressus. The prefix "Hesper" is from the Greek word 'herperos' meaning "evening" or "the west" as this is where the sun sets. We are currently leaving this plant listed as Cupressus until this change becomes widely accepted. 

This information about Cupressus macrocarpa displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.