Characteristics of Vietnamese Cypress Tree (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis) in the Wild

Xanthocyparis vietnamensis
Vietnamese Cypress or Vietnamese Golden Cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis) is a conifer tree that is endemic to Vietnam. This tree grows naturally in the limestone mountains of Hà Giang Province in northern Vietnam.

It was first discovered by western scientists in October 1999 and soon it was assigned to a new genus and species, namely Xanthocyparis vietnamensis. But that didn’t last long, a few years after that his name changed and he was more commonly known as Cupressus vietnamensis.

In 2012, one individual was found in Guangxi Province, China. Additional China surveys in 2014, supported by the Global Tree Campaign, found 17 new individuals of this species, including 15 mature trees and 2 seedlings.

The Vietnamese Cypress is categorized as an endangered species because only about 500-1,000 individuals are known. In Vietnam, this tree is known as Bach vang.


Characteristics of Vietnamese Cypress Leaf

Xanthocyparis vietnamensis Leaf

There are two different types of leaves on the same tree. As you can see, one type of long, flat needle leaf, arranged in a circle of 4 leaves.


Characteristics of Vietnamese Cypress Fruit

The fruit is conical, looks similar to a prosthesis, but has only 4 scales growing from the base of the branch and not from the top of the branch.


Characteristics of Vietnamese Cypress Tree

Xanthocyparis vietnamensis Tree

The Vietnamese Cypress grows naturally in karst areas at an altitude of 700-1,500 m above sea level as a small evergreen tree with a height of 10-15 meters and a trunk diameter of 50-80 cm. This tree has a pyramidal shape when young and a broad, flattened crown when mature. Branches scaly, flattened, pointed, sharp, and criss-cross.

Vietnamese Cypress has fine, fragrant, termite-free wood. In the past, local people used wood to make coffins. They believe that the smell of wood can prevent damage to corpses. Therefore, the large lowland Vietnamese cypress trees were almost completely felled, leaving only small, crooked trees, the largest of which was about 40 cm in diameter.

The IUCN Ted List has classified the status of this species as Endangered (EN).


The Vietnamese Cypress is known to grow very slowly, but it can be propagated from cuttings. Recently, however, Bedgebury Pinetum has succeeded in growing these trees from seed.


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