Cupressus macrocarpa


Cupressus: Classical name, said to be derived from the Greek kuo 'to produce' and pari 'equal', alluding to the symmetrical form of the Italian cypress; alternatively the name is derived from an ancient Latin word for box, the wood once being used for coffins.
macrocarpa: large fruit

Common Name(s)



Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. ex Gordon



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


Terrestrial. regenerating bush and scrub near planted trees and hedgerows.


Medium sized tree to about 36 metres. Has distinctive fluted trunk when mature, bark is thick, reddish brown beneath often becoming whitish on the surface. Adult foliage comprises many small dark green scales closely appressed to the branchlets, but not flattened. Juvenile foliage more needle like, and not appressed. Male cones up to about 3 mm long, yellow and knobbly arising on the tips of the branches. Female cone are also terminal, rosette-like at first, becoming a rounded brown cone with 8-14 scales when mature. Usually 10-20 small seeds per cone scale.

Similar Taxa

The scales closely appressed on mature plants, but stems not becoming flattened separate Cupressus from other conifers. There are several Cupressus species in cultivation in New Zealand but C. macrocarpa is by far the most common, and can be identified by the blunt leaves lacking resin glands, and the shining brown mature cones.

Flower Colours

No Flowers

Year Naturalised



Monterey Peninsula, California, N. America

Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments
Occasional and scattered cultivation escape in the vicinity of planted trees (Webb et al 1988).


At least 150 seeds per mature female cone, estimated at least 10 000 cones per mature tree.

People, wind, gravity.

seedlings are moderately shade-tolerant but do best on sunny banks.

This page last updated on 25 Mar 2010