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Chamaecyparis obtusa

Phonetic Spelling
kam-ee-SIP-a-riss ob-TOO-suh
Description

Hinoki cypress is a large, woody, needled evergreen tree from Formosa, Japan with a broad, softly pyramidal shape and spreading, horizontal branches. It is in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family and has been widely used in Japanese architecture. The genus name derives from the Greek word chamai, for dwarf or low to the ground, and kyparissos, for cypress. 

It prefers moist, fertile loams but is adaptable to other soils as long as they are well drained. It does best in full sun but can tolerate some shade and needs protection from the wind. Propagate from root cuttings as this plant is difficult to transplant. 

The cones are small and orange-brown. This tree is rarely used in landscapes due to its mature size of 50 to 75 feet tall by 10 to 25 feet wide. There are many dwarf cultivars in smaller sizes better suited to home use. Hinoki cypress is best used as a specimen in a meadow or recreational play area. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Sprays are fan-shaped, flat
  • Leaves are all scale-like
  • Scales are glaucous along edges, below appear as X or Y

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Somewhat susceptible to bagworms, root rot, and juniper blight.  See Clemson's publication on root rot.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Chamaecyparis.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Mountain Ridge Top Garden - North Lawn and Upper Drive Border Garden Treasures Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border Sun and Shade Demo Garden, Buncombe County Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border Mountain Ridge Top Garden - North Woods Sun and Shade Demo Garden, Buncombe County
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Blue Feathers', 'Butter Ball', 'Chabo Ya Dori', 'Chirimen', 'Confucius', 'Coralliformis', 'Crippssii', 'Ericoides', 'Fernspray', 'Fernspray Gold', 'Fillicoides', Golden Pillar, 'Gracilis', 'Gracilis Aurea', ‘Hirabi’, 'Kosteri', ‘Limerick’, 'Lucas', 'Luteaauea', 'Mariesii', 'Nana', 'Nana Gracilis', 'Nana Lutea', 'Pygmaea Aurescens', 'Reis Dwarf', 'Snowflake', 'Spirited', 'Sunspray', 'Tempelhof', 'Tetragona Aurea', 'Torolusa', 'Verdoni'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#large tree#low maintenance#winter interest#cpp#spreading#needled evergreen#children's garden#playground plant#rock garden#screening#fantz#parks#evergreen tree#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#mccarthy memorial garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Blue Feathers', 'Butter Ball', 'Chabo Ya Dori', 'Chirimen', 'Confucius', 'Coralliformis', 'Crippssii', 'Ericoides', 'Fernspray', 'Fernspray Gold', 'Fillicoides', Golden Pillar, 'Gracilis', 'Gracilis Aurea', ‘Hirabi’, 'Kosteri', ‘Limerick’, 'Lucas', 'Luteaauea', 'Mariesii', 'Nana', 'Nana Gracilis', 'Nana Lutea', 'Pygmaea Aurescens', 'Reis Dwarf', 'Snowflake', 'Spirited', 'Sunspray', 'Tempelhof', 'Tetragona Aurea', 'Torolusa', 'Verdoni'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#large tree#low maintenance#winter interest#cpp#spreading#needled evergreen#children's garden#playground plant#rock garden#screening#fantz#parks#evergreen tree#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#mccarthy memorial garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Chamaecyparis
    Species:
    obtusa
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Has been widely used in Japanese architecture.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Formosa, Japan
    Play Value:
    Screening
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Pyramidal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    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
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    No true fruit-female seed bearing cones are green when immature turning to brown. Small 0.5 in. orange-brown cones with 8-10 scales
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers - the pollen bearing cones are small and often reddish, growing from the branch tips.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Needles
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Short, closely compressed, green leaves are scale-like in flattened sprays with whitish x-like markings on the underside. Leaves come in 2 scale leaf sizes.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    Reddish-brown bark will peel on mature trees.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen