Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Common Name(s)

Lawson's cypress


Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Murray) Parl.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Gymnosperm Trees & Shrubs




Large tree that can reach 50 m. Has narrow pyramidal shape and usually has branches present near the ground and drooping towards the apex. The bark is thick, fibrous and reddish-brown. Leaves are very small, dark green and appressed on the stems with the point free. Male cones are 2-5 mm long and red with dark blue spots. Female cones are 6-9 mm diameter and blue when young. Ageing to brown and opening to 8 distinct scales. 2-4 small winged seeds per scale.

Similar Taxa

Chamaecyparius is similar to Cupressus, but can be separated by the flattened branches. Thuja also has flattened branches but cones (of both sexes) are quite different. There are a number of species of Chamaecypariums cultivated in New Zealand but the brightly coloured male cones distinguish C. lawsoniana

Flower Colours

No Flowers

Year Naturalised



California, Oregon, N. America

Reason For Introduction

Reproduces by seed.

Up to 32 seeds per female cone. Estimate that there could be as many as 10,000 cones per mature tree.

This page last updated on 15 Mar 2010