Cupressus sempervirens 'Stricta' (Mediterranean Cypress)

  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0064
  • Botanical Name: Cupressus sempervirens
  • Common Name: Italian Cypress, Mediterranean Cypress, Turkish Cypress, Common Cypress 
  • Cultivar: 'Stricta' (Some people include subspecific names for the two general forms: fastigiate ('Stricta') & horizontal. The fastigiate form is treated as a cultivar, while the horizontal form is believed to be the form pre-horticultural intervention. The fastigiate form is the form/cultivar described specifically in this post. Additionally there are compact forms of the fastigiate form.)
  • Family: Cupressaceae
Cupressus sempervirens on the UH Manoa Campus 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

Cupressus sempervirens 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Native To: Mediterranean Region from Morocco & Spain to Egypt, Israel & Iran

Landscaping Information: 

    • Plant Type: Tree, Conifer, Evergreen
    • Texture: Fine
    • Form: Conical, Upright-Narrow
    • Height (on average, in landscape use):  45' - 60'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 13:1 
    • Growth Rate: Medium
    • Landscape Values:  Accent, Background, Border, Edging, Facer, Filler, Foundation, Framing, Mass, Quick Effect, Screen, Sculptural Form, Space Division, Specimen, Windbreak
    • Outstanding Quality: Form/Silhouette

    Botanical Descriptions: 

    • Cones: Female cones are roundish, stocky, 8-14 opposite scales, grayish-brown, and remain on the branch for many years due to fire-mediated serotiny. Male cones are minuscule and yellow.
    Cupressus sempervirens male cones
    Cupressus sempervirens branches bearing leaves with terminal male cones 
    Photo by Matthew Gaston
    • Foliage Color:  Young/immature: Light Green. Mature: Bright medium green to blue-green
    • Foliage Tip: Obtuse
    • Foliage Base: Obtuse
    • Petiole: n/a
    • Stipules: n/a
    • Margins: Smooth
    • Leaf Arrangement: Opposite (Decussate)
    • Leaf Shape: Ovate
    • Leaf Type: Scale
    • Leaf Texture: Waxy, smooth
    • Leaf Special Notes: Small, opposite scale-like leaves. The photos included in this page are rather poor and not focused on these minuscule leaves.
    Cupressus sempervirens branches bearing leaves  
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Juvenile bark is grayish, smooth & glossy maturing into a vertically furrowed grayish-brown bark.
    Cupressus sempervirens branches bearing leaves  
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Horticultural Information: 

      • Light Preference: Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances: Semi-Sun
      • Soil Preferences: Acidic, Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline, Clay, Loam, Sand, Organic, Moist, Dry (Mesic), Well-Drained. Does well in most soil types as long as it is well draining with no standing water.
      • Tolerances: Drought
      • Water Requirements: Low water needs. Susceptible to root rot, so needs well-draining soil.
      • Notes on Maintenance: Fastigiate form (tall, narrow, needle-shaped) do not require any pruning. Susceptible to root rot (if soil is wet & saturated for long durations) and a fungal pathogen causing shoot browning. By planting in a mesic, full sun area with relatively low humidity, these two moisture related diseases will be less likely to occur and spread. This is a Mediterranean plant that can be grown in drier areas of tropical landscapes.

      Cupressus sempervirens with fungal shoot browing.
      Photo by Matthew Gaston

      • Propagation: Seeds, Cutting, Layer
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 7
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): 9, High Risk

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