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Yellow Cedar Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Previously known as:

  • Xanthocyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'
Phonetic Spelling
kal-ee-trop-sis noot-kuh-TEN-sis
Description

Nootka Cypress is a needled evergreen tree in the cypress family native to the Pacific coast from Alaska to northern California. In its native habitat, it is commonly found growing along streams and ravines and other areas with moist soils.  It has graceful pendulous branches that upsweep at the ends and flattened sprays of gray-green or blue-green foliage. It typically grows slowly to 30 to 45 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. However, with optimum conditions, such as in the wild, it can grow rapidly, adding one or more feet of growth per year.  Specimens up to 90' tall have been observed.   

Grow in average moist soils with good drainage in full sun to partial shade. It is grown as a specimen tree or along pond and stream edges in the mountainous areas of NC.

Pruning or trimming can be accomplished in the summer months.  This plant is very tolerant of clipping as long as the cutting does not extend into the brown bark wood.  If cut this deeply, it cannot regenerate.  

Fibers that finely shredded from the inner bark is used for making mats and blankets.  Wood from this tree is hard and durable and has a resinous odor. 

There has been some confusion around the taxonomy of this plant which has been placed in the genus Cupressus, Chamaecyparis, and Xanthocyparis.  The species name derives from the geographic area it is found in the Nootka Sound of British Columbia.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Although generally pest free, susceptible to beetle borers and spider mites, phytophthora, root rot, and rust.  It cannot tolerate maritime exposure or atmospheric pollution.

It May not be easy to find a supplier of this tree.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    Bright yellow new growth
  • 'Glauca'
    Bluish foliage on weeping branches.
  • ’Green Arrow’
    Very narrow growth habit.
  • 'Pendula'
    Hardy, deep green foliage.
  • 'Variegata'
    Green foliage with gold flecks.
'Aurea', 'Glauca', ’Green Arrow’, 'Pendula', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#weeping#evergreen#needles#conifer#pendulous#winter interest#fall interest#needled evergreen#needled#summer interest#cold tolerant#spring interest#evergreen tree#humidity tolerant#clay soils tolerant#chalk soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
    Bright yellow new growth
  • 'Glauca'
    Bluish foliage on weeping branches.
  • ’Green Arrow’
    Very narrow growth habit.
  • 'Pendula'
    Hardy, deep green foliage.
  • 'Variegata'
    Green foliage with gold flecks.
'Aurea', 'Glauca', ’Green Arrow’, 'Pendula', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#weeping#evergreen#needles#conifer#pendulous#winter interest#fall interest#needled evergreen#needled#summer interest#cold tolerant#spring interest#evergreen tree#humidity tolerant#clay soils tolerant#chalk soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Chamaecyparis
    Species:
    nootkatensis
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is used for cabinet making, boats, and cor carvings.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alaska to British Columbia, northern California
    Distribution:
    Alaska and northern California
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Screening
    Textural
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 120 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Weeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    No true fruits - female seed-bearing cones are green when immature turning to brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Description:
    No flowers-the pollen bearing cones are small and often reddish, growing from the branch tips. Both male pollen cones and female flowering cones appear on the same tree.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The scale-like leaves are described as being opposite, or sub-opposite.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Square
    Bark Description:
    Reddish/brown exfoliating bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Interesting reddish/brown stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Patio
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Humidity
    Insect Pests
    Pollution
    Wind