Cupressaceae


Includes previous Taxodiaceae

Note that only Juniper is native - Some of the more widely-grown spp. shown

Choose leaf type:      

Scale-like       or       Flat



Leaves scale-like:

Terminal branches - flattened, spreading in 1 plane,        or         spreading in 3 dimensions



Terminal branches flat spreading in 1 plane


White Xs on underside
Flat twigs, white 'butterfly' marks
Shoots in flat hanging sprays
Shoots 'droopy'

Flat lvs in vertical planes

Terminal branchlets NOT spreading in 1 plane

Scale lvs with sm. point
Branchlets not flat
Some juvenile needles
See also: Tamarisk

Short scale lvs
Long scale lvs
Pointed scale lvs
Curled up shoot tips


Comparison of cones

C. pisifera
C. lawsoniana
C. x leylandii
C. macrocarpa

C. nootkatensis
C. torulosa
Thuja
Platycladus

Cryptomeria
Fitzroya
Sequoia
Juniperus

Sequoiadendron
Calocedrus
Athrotaxis
Athrotaxis

Metasequoia
Taxodium

Leaves flat:

Flat lvs, deciduous
Flat lvs in 1 plane
Needles tapered at base & tip
Flat lvs in one plane
Swamp cypress Taxodium
Redwood, Metasequoia
Coast redwood, Sequoia
see also Yew

Lvs Fan-shaped
Lvs rigid, broad, pointed
Shrub - needles
Shrubs-see also


Cupressaceae/Athrotaxis . . . . . Pencil Pine


Athrotaxis cupressoides . . . . Tasmanian cedar

A Tasmanian sp. regularly planted in gardens

More commonly planted than the above

Athrotaxis laxifolia . . . . Pencil Pine


Cupressaceae/Calocedrus . . . . . Incense Cedar


Calocedrus decurrens . . . . Incense Cedar

Similar to Cupressus and also widely planted, distinguished by cones

Cupressaceae/Cryptomeria . . . . . Japanese Cedar


Cryptomeria japonica . . . . Japanese Cedar

Long, curved lvs only appressed at base, rather frost sensitive

Cupressaceae/Cupressus . . . . . Cupressus


Link to Key to Cupressus
Includes previous genera including Chamaecyparis, Cuprocyparis, Cupressocyparis.

Cupressus lawsoniana (was Chamaecyparis lawsoniana). . . . Lawson Cypress

Widely planted; terminal branchlets in 1 plane (c.f. C. x leylandii), underside with white Xs; globose fruit <10 mm

Cupressus macrocarpa . . . . Monterey Cypress

Widely planted esp. nr. coast, self-seeds in CI, Scilly, S. Ire; fruits >2 cm

Cupressus nootkatensis . . . . Nootka Cypress

Characteristically drooping habit

Cupressaceae/Cupressus pisifera (was Chamaecyparis pisifera). . . . Sawara Cypress

Planted in parks, rarely self-seeded; fruits <6 mm, lvs with longer tips than other common Cupressus


One of many cultivars

Cupressaceae/Cupressus torulosa . . . . Bhutan Cypress

Planted in parks; fruits c.10-15 mm, long, hanging branchlets

Cupressus x leylandii (= Cuprocyparis leylandii ; was Cupressocyparis x leylandii). . . . Leyland cypress

Widespread hedge plant; terminal branchlets not in 1 plane; spherical female cones (rare - 15-20 mm)

Cupressaceae/Fitzroya . . . . . Alerce Cypress

An unusal Chilean cypress; lvs in 3s with 2 white stripes

Fitzroya cupressoides . . . . Alerce Cypress


Cupressaceae/Juniperus . . . . . Juniper


Juniperus communis . . . . Juniper

Scattered esp. in mountain areas in NW, Lakes, N Wa and W Ire; 3 subspp. recognised

Juniperus virginiana . . . . Pencil Cypress

Juvenile leaves (needles) uncommon, mostly scale-like; planted in churchyards etc.

Cupressaceae/Metasequoia . . . . . Dawn Redwood


Metasequoia glyptostroboides . . . . Dawn Redwood

Deciduous tree; leaflets opposite (c.f. Taxodium)

Cupressaceae/Platycladus . . . . . Oriental Thuja


Platycladus orientalis (= Thuja orientalis) . . . . Oriental Thuja or Chinese Thuja

Vertical branches, cones like Thuja with long hooks

Cupressaceae/Sequoia . . . . . Coast Redwood


Sequoia sempervirens . . . . Coast Redwood

Planted in parks

Cupressaceae/Sequoiadendron . . . . . Giant Redwood


Sequoiadendron giganteum . . . . Giant Redwood or Wellingtonia

Planted in parks; characteristically soft thick bark

Cupressaceae/Taxodium . . . . . Swamp Cypress


Taxodium distichum . . . . Swamp Cypress

Deciduous; grows in v. wet places with thick aerial roots; leaflets alternate (c.f. Metasequoia)

Cupressaceae/Thuja . . . . . Western Red-cedar

Distinguished from Cupressus spp. (e.g. x leylandii) by elongated cones (vs. spherical)

Thuja plicata . . . . Western Red-cedar

Upward-pointing cones with a small terminal hook; white "butterfly" markings on underside

The smaller, slower-growing, Eastern White-cedar (T. occidentalis) is similar but less commonly planted. See also Platycladus.