Characteristics of Italian Cypress Tree (Cupressus sempervirens) in the Wild

Cupressus sempervirens
Italian cypress or Persian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a species of cypress native to the Mediterranean region, including Libya, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Malta, Italy, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Caucasus, and Iran.

Italian cypress has been widely cultivated as an ornamental tree for thousands of years, especially throughout the Mediterranean region, and in other areas with similar seasons, including California, southwestern South Africa, and southern Australia.

This tree can grow far from its natural habitat, but requires cooler, humid summers, such as in the British Isles, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest (coast of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). Italian cypress is also grown in Florida and parts of the southern coast of the United States as an ornamental tree. In some areas, particularly the United States, it is known as “Italian cypress” or “Tuscan cypress”.

Most Italian cypress trees in cultivation are selected cultivars with fastigiate crowns, with erect branches forming a narrow to very narrow crown often less than one-tenth the tree height. This tree is a hallmark of the landscape of cities and villages in the Mediterranean.


Italian cypress is known for its very durable and fragrant wood, most famously it is used for the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome.

In the past, the wood was also used in distilleries as sticks to resist the fermented mash to make alcohol before the invention of stainless steel.

It is also the traditional wood used for Italian harpsichords.

In cosmetics, Italian cypress is used as an astringent, firming, anti-seborrheic, anti-dandruff, anti-aging, and as a fragrance.


Characteristics of Italian Cypress Leaf

Cupressus sempervirens Leaf

The leaves are scale-like, 2-5 mm long, and appear on rounded shoots.


Characteristics of Italian Cypress Fruit

Cupressus sempervirens Fruit

The seed cones are ovate or oblong, 25-40 mm long, with 10-14 scales, green when young and brown when ripe.


Characteristics of Italian Cypress Tree

Cupressus sempervirens Tree

Italian cypress can grow to a height of 35 meters, with a conical crown and flat or loosely hanging branches. The tree life is very long, Italian cypress can live more than 1,000 years.

One of the oldest Italian cypress named Sarv-e Abarkuh, the tree grows in Yazd Province, Iran. Its age is estimated to be around 4,000 years.


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