Cypress - what is it? Types, description and care of the cypress tree

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Cypress - what is it? Types, description and care of the cypress tree
Cypress - what is it? Types, description and care of the cypress tree

Since ancient times, representatives of different cultures have repeatedly appreciated the beauty and beneficial properties of cypress, endowing this tree with special mystical abilities. In the Assyro-Babylonian period, people perceived it as a symbol of the goddess of fertility. The Phoenicians went to bow to him and were convinced that the knowledge of the sacred Tree of Life was given to them by the gods themselves. Direct or indirect references to cypress are found in many ancient written sources, such as ancient Greek mythology and biblical manuscripts. In other words, this plant has always aroused interest and was in the field of view of mankind. We will try to figure out what cypress is and for what advantages it is valued.

Handsome man of many years

The genus of cypress (Cupressus) is represented by evergreen large shrubs and trees, whose crown shape has a tent or pyramidal appearance, and the height varies from 5 to 40 meters. The trunk of graceful plants is covered with dark brown bark with narrow flaking lobes, and the branches are highly branched. Small leaves are colored with saturatedgreen (in most species) and are in a cross-pair arrangement: in young specimens they are needle-shaped, but in the process of growing up they change, becoming scaly, tightly adjacent to each other. Cypress seeds develop in round, shield-like cones and mature in the second year after pollination.

Belonging to cypress coniferous trees determines its life expectancy, an average of 500 years, but there are specimens that have far crossed this line. Perennial beauties mainly grow in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, are widespread in the Mediterranean, in southern China, the Himalayas, Crimea, the Caucasus and North America. Their very origin is so ancient that the true homeland remains a mystery to mankind.

what is cypress
what is cypress

Cypress in Russia

In the lands of Russia, cypress was noted in ancient times, when Greek settlers brought it in small quantities to the Crimean peninsula. It is also known that in ancient Georgia, in the palace gardens and parks, he was assigned places of honor. In later periods, the spread of cypress was greatly facilitated by the spread of Christianity. The tree has become a constant companion of places of worship, cathedrals and churches as a symbol of eternal life and hope for rebirth.

After the annexation of Crimea to Russia, many people already knew what a cypress tree looks like. Field Marshal G. A. Potemkin gave an order to increase the planting of an exotic tree, the seedlings of which were transported fromTurkey in 1787. There is a version that during the trip of Catherine II to the Crimea, she personally participated in the planting of cypresses in the Vorontsov garden.

Cypress species

In the wild, up to about 30 varieties of cypress are classified, and about 10 subspecies and varieties stand out in ornamental gardening. But apparently, these figures are not yet final, since some populations are isolated and small, which makes it difficult for taxonomists to determine them.

The most famous types of cypress include:

  • Lumpy,
  • Arizona,
  • Large-fruited,
  • Evergreen,
  • California,
  • Kashmiri,
  • Italian,
  • Marsh,
  • McNaba,
  • Siberian,
  • Mexican.

Most of the species are concentrated in North America, northern Africa and southeast Asia.

evergreen cypress
evergreen cypress

Evergreen cypress

Among the most popular species of cypress noted by landscape designers is the Evergreen cypress. Its tree reaches a height of 30 meters, and the girth of the trunk is 60 centimeters. The narrow pyramidal crown consists of thin, densely placed branches, whose shoots are turned in different directions. The bark of the trunk with longitudinal cracks in young trees has a light brown color, in adulthood it is gray. Small leaves have a slight glossiness, they are pressed close to the shoot. Due to the rapid growth, the height of the evergreen cypress is already 4 meters at the age of 8, andfruitfulness occurs even earlier - from 4 years. Also, the tree has a well-developed root system, represented by a rod form.

Although all representatives of cypress have "evergreen" leaves, but only this species was honored to have this speaking adjective in the name. The fact is that the epithet was received back in ancient times, when such trees grew in the south of Europe, and therefore they were one of the first to fall under the sight of people of science. But the promising name justifies itself in some way, since the features of cypress are such that the plant is able to tolerate frosts down to -20 degrees, has sufficient fire resistance and withstands prolonged drought.

cypress mcnaba
cypress mcnaba


McNaba Cypress is a branching tree or shrub that grows up to 12 meters high. The crown of the plant is wide and very dense, with intensive branching from the trunk itself. Its natural habitat is in California and Southern Oregon.

When describing a cypress tree of this species, its frost resistance (up to -25 ° C) and drought tolerance are most often noted. The bark of the trunk can be dark red or blackish brown. Short shoots branch out in all directions. Dark green oval-shaped needles, when rubbed, give a rich smell of lemons. Cones are spherical, may have a slight bluish bloom. After their maturation, they remain on the tree, maintaining the viability of seeds up to 8 years.

Maknaba was brought to Europe in 1854, and 4 years later first appeared on Russian territory. He is currentlycultivated in small quantities on the Black Sea coast.

swamp cypress
swamp cypress

Swamp Cypress Tree

Taxody, or Swamp Cypress, is a large deciduous tree native to North America. Its height reaches 50 meters, and in diameter, at the base of the trunk, the girth reaches 12 meters. A powerful plant prefers waterlogged soils, for which it got its name. This is well shown in the photo, where a cypress tree grows in a swampy area, towering on large "air" roots. Its branches are covered with needle-shaped leaves directed in two directions, and outwardly resemble a yew.

In the characteristics of this cypress, the needles are of particular interest, which in summer has a light green color, and by autumn it is repainted in a yellowish-crimson color. For the winter, the needles are dropped along with the shoots, thanks to which the tree is not just deciduous, but also a rather rare branch-falling species.

The swamp cypress is widespread in the subtropical forests of North America, on wetlands. Life expectancy averages 500-600 years, but some individuals can live up to 10 times longer.

breeding varieties
breeding varieties

Ornamental varieties

Cypress shrubs and trees are in high demand in cultivation, which has led to the emergence of new sizes and shapes of this marvelous plant. The most common ornamental cypress species are Mexican, Evergreen and Arizona.

Mexican cypress tallreaches 40 meters. Its wide crown resembles a tent, and the dark needles are egg-shaped. The plant does not withstand drought and cold temperatures. The following varieties of cypress are derived from him:

  • Bentama - the crown is narrow and regular, the branches are in the same plane, the color of the needles varies from gray to dark green.
  • Tristis - columnar crown, flexible branches grow down.
  • Lindley - dark green shoots with large buds.

Evergreen cypress is an impressive giant with a pyramidal crown and bluish-green needles. It differs from its counterparts in life expectancy (up to 2000 years or more). Scientists have developed the most compact varieties of such a cypress that now it can be grown on household plots:

  • Montrosa, Fastigiata Forlucelu - undersized trees.
  • Stricta is a hardy plant with a dense pyramidal crown.
  • Indica - the correct crown in the form of a column.

Arizona cypress is a fast-growing variety up to 21 meters high, tolerates slight frosts and is resistant to droughts, but at the same time loves light. Its gray-green crown is represented by a wide pin-shaped form. Based on this plant, breeders bred the following varieties of cypress:

  • Konika is a tree with gray-blue needles for warm climates.
  • Ashersoniana is a short plant.
  • Pyramidalis - a variety with a conical crown and gray needles.
  • Compacta is a shrubby form of cypress with a bluish-green tint of needles.
cypress breeding
cypress breeding

Landingcypress: from seed to tree

Let's consider the process in more detail. Cypress at home, along with the seed method, can also be bred vegetatively, which involves propagation by layering and cuttings. Important conditions for any chosen method will be: good illumination, isolation from strong winds and drained soils.

Reproduction by seeds. Here, a special requirement is placed on the soil, which in equal proportions must contain sand, peat and soddy soil. Seeds are placed in containers to a depth of 2 centimeters and exposed to the sunny side. After a few months, they sprout, provided that the soil is moistened regularly. In spring, at a temperature of 13-15 ° C, grown sprouts are planted.

Reproduction by layering. This method is the most effective for propagating home cypress. Shoots growing to the ground are bent to the very bottom and an incision is made, inserting a stone into it. Next, the shoot is laid on the ground with an incision and fixed by sprinkling it with soil. After the roots are formed, the layer is separated from the mother plant and transplanted.

Propagation by cuttings. Small cuttings (size 5-15 centimeters) are cut from young shoots in spring and the needles are removed from below. They are then planted in pots filled with sand and pine bark, where they take root for several months.

seedling care
seedling care

Caring for a young plant

At first, cypress seedlings need abundant watering: on average, a bucket of water per week is spent. In dry weather, watering should be increased, but alsoneed to connect and spray. Weak trees 2 times a month must be fed with complex fertilizers. With the onset of the cold season, there is a need for additional protection: the roots are covered with sawdust, at lower temperatures the plant is covered entirely. The intensity of caring for cypress with the process of growing up gradually decreases, and by the age of 3-4 years, only 2 top dressings are given per season, and watering is done only during severe drought.

After planting, the growth rate of young cypress trees allows a couple of seasons to trim the crown, creating the desired shape. Dead branches are removed in March, and with the advent of warm weather, the plant can be cut completely.

cypress in Russia
cypress in Russia

Using cypress

In addition to aesthetic contemplation, cypress has always been famous for its wood. It is well processed by any kind, despite the multiple knots that impede the process. Its mechanical properties are equal to pine wood. Thus, the productivity of cypress is such that it is successfully used in construction, shipbuilding and furniture production. And from its needles and shoots, essential oils are produced, which are so highly valued in medicine and the perfume industry. Also, the content of aromatic resins in the wood keeps the wood from being attacked by insects.

As for healing properties, it has long been known that cypress groves have a life-giving effect on the human body. The oxygen produced by evergreen trees effectively destroys pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, simple walks in the park with cypresses help to significantly improve immunity and increase the tone of the body as a whole. On top of that, the clean air around these plants contains endorphins that lift your spirits.

ancient cypress
ancient cypress

Interesting facts

  • In the central part of Iran grows the long-lived cypress Zoroastrian Sarv, one of the most ancient plants on earth. Its age is over 4 thousand years, corresponding to the period of the first forged Asian chariot.
  • There is an assumption that the pyramidal shape of the cypress is the result of the work of the first selections.
  • Confucius singled out cypress among other trees, taking it as a symbol of longevity and happiness.
  • The definition of cypresses as "evergreens" implies periodic leaf renewal, which lasts for 3-5 years.
  • In ancient times, the island of Cyprus was covered with dense forests and cypress was one of the most common trees.
  • According to the texts of biblical traditions, the cypress tree is among the plants of the Garden of Eden. And there is also a hypothesis that it was cypress wood that was the material for the construction of Noah's Ark.