Characteristics of Hinoki Cypress Tree (Chamaecyparis obtusa) in the Wild

Chamaecyparis obtusa
Hinoki cypress or Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a species of cypress native to Japan and is widely cultivated throughout the world which has a climate similar to that of Japan. This tree has very good quality wood and is often planted in the yard of the house as an ornamental tree.

Hinoki cypress is also popular in parks and gardens, both in Japan and in other places such as Western Europe and North America. Some cultivars have been selected for garden planting, including the dwarf form, the form with yellow leaves, and the form with dense foliage.

More than 200 cultivars of Hinoki cypress have been cultivated, varying in size from large trees, to very slow-growing dwarf plants. Some of the most well-known cultivars are listed below. They were awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).

    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Fernspray Gold’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kamarachiba’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Aurea’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’
    Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Tsatsumi Gold’

In Japan, Hinoki cypress is often grown as a bonsai together with Tsugi or Japanese Cypress (Cryptomeria japonica).


Characteristics of Hinoki Cypress Leaf

Hinoki Cypress Leaf
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The leaves are scaly, 2-4 mm long, blunt, green with white stomata at the base of each leaf.


Characteristics of Hinoki Cypress Fruit

Chamaecyparis obtusa Fruit
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The cones are round, 8-12 mm in diameter, with 8-12 paired scales.


Characteristics of Hinoki Cypress Tree

Chamaecyparis obtusa Tree
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Hinoki cypress is a tree that has slow growth, it can grow to a height of 35 meters with a trunk diameter of up to 1 meter.

The bark is red to dark brown, lemon-scented, with straight fibers, and very durable. Because of its resistance to decay, the wood was perfect for building palaces, temples, baths, and tool handles.

Hinoki cypress wood has been used since ancient times to make Horyuji Shrine, Osaka Castle, and Ise Shrine called the go-shin-boku or “god tree”.


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