Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Breviramea' / Breviramea Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Breviramea' is a small, upright, tree form of Hinoki cypress with a narrow profile and exceptionally thick, glossy, dark-green foliage. Another notable feature is that lack of stomatal banding on the foliage undersides. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 6 to 8 feet (2 - 2.5 m) tall and half as wide, an annual growth rate of 12 inches (30 cm) or more.

This conifer was originally described as a species (Chamaecyparis breviramea) in 1866, then as a specific variety (Chamaecyparis obtusa var. breviramea) in 1881, based on a population unique to northern Kyushu Island, Japan. This variety has since been lumped into C. obtusa var. obtusa. In 1966, S.G. Harrison suggested that this plant was distinct enough to warrant cultivar status. In 1992, John Lewis, former registrar of the Royal Horticultural Society agreed to Harrison's suggestion.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Breviramea' — a mature specimen in the Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan; photo from August, 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst

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