Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Cupressus macrocarpa
Monterey Cypress

Tag 610
54deg 34.930N
5deg 55.880W
The Monterey cypress is quite rare in the wild, being known only from two coastal cliff-tops near Monterey in California from where it was introduced into cultivation in about 1838. It is widely grown in temperate areas all over the world, particularly in coastal areas as it is salt-tolerant. It is a useful wind-break tree, but not suitable for hedging or for small gardens as it can reach 40m tall.
The leaves are tightly pressed to the stem and the stems are rounded not flattened (cf the Nootkat cypress). Separate male and female cones are produced in late winter/early spring. The male cones are yellow and the female cones start a bluish green. The female cones develop into a spherical shape with 6 to 14 scales and turn brown. These take 18 months or more to ripen.
The Monterey cypress is one parent of the widely grown hybrid Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) the other parent being the Nootcat cypress Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. This hybrid occurred in cultivation, first in Rostrevor in County Down in about 1870 and again in Leighton Hall in Powys in 1888. Most Leylands in cultivation derive from the latter cross.
Cupressus macrocarpa in Belfast Botanic Gardens Branch of Cupressus macrocarpa
Cupressus macrocarpa in Belfast Botanic Gardens Branch of Cupressus macrocarpa
Leaves of Cupressus macrocarpa Pollen cones of Cupressus macrocarpa
Detail of adpressed leaves of Cupressus macrocarpa Male cones (pollen cones) of Cupressus macrocarpa
Female cone Mature cone
Detail of female cone of Cupressus macrocarpa Developing and mature cones of Cupressus macrocarpa
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2015 and 2016. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
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