The common names are Nootka cypress or Alaska cedar, but this graceful conifer is neither a cypress nor a cedar. But even botanists have been confused having labelled it as Cupressus, Chamaecyparis, Xanthocyparis and Callitropsis nootkatensis.

 Whatever it’s called it is a splendid specimen tree for gardens in cooler regions. And although it can get to a 100 feet in the forests of Alaska and British Columbia, in cultivation it rarely exceeds 30 feet and is often found at 20 feet. Nootka Cypress has flat sprays of dark green scale-like leaves borne by pendulous branches. Most nurseries carry the cultivar ‘Pendula’ which is dramatically weeping. In the light of day Callitropsis nootkatensis 'Pendula' has an elegant weep, while on a misty night it takes on a Gothic air. Day or night, all the year round, it is an arresting tree that quietly draws the notice of any visitor.
The plant does well where the summers are not too hot for too long and it appreciates some shade and a lot of moisture. It does well in much of the upper US, Canada, and the UK and is popular in temperate New Zealand.
From a landscape standpoint it provides that year-round point of green, so appreciated in winter. It also could provide a wind break on a north wall as well as a soft vertical accent, and it does well as a Bonsai subject.

As always, a tree this rare is not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely found in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.

Nootka cypress


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