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




Terminal branches flat spreading in 1 plane


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

Shoots 'droopy'
Flat lvs in vertical planes
Flat lvs, long white stripes

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



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/Austrocedrus . . . . . Chilean Cedar


Austrocedrus chilensis . . . . Chilean Cedar

Shoots significantly thicker than other 'cupressus' spp., lateral scale lvs >central lvs, with long white stripes

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.

Cupressaceae/Thujopsis . . . . . Hiba

Distinguished from Cupressus spp. by lateral lvs not overlapping next leaf

Thujopsis dolobrata . . . . Hiba

Much stouter branchlets than similar spp., lf underside with v obvious "double butterfly" markings; c.f. Austrocedrus in pic 3