Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Rashahiba' / Rasha hiba Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Rasha hiba' is a small, upright, tree-form of Hinoki cypress with thick, fasciated, monstrous foliage and branchlets that are gray-green in color. It is similar in appearance to Ch. obtusa 'Lycopodioides,' but with more robust structure and thicker foliage. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 4.5 feet (1.5 m) tall and 3 feet (1 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 4 to 6 inches (10 - 15 cm).

"Rasha hiba' is a very old cultivar that originated long ago in Japan and brought to Europe around 1900. Onuma ex Beissner provided a botanical description in 1909. At times, one sees this plant listed simply as 'Rasha' a name which invites discussion. Many cultivars of Cryptomeria japonica formerly contained the redundant epithet, "Sugi," just as "Hiba" is still seen with many cultivars of C. obtusa. In addition to this aesthetic consideration, the misspelled name, 'Rashahimba' is prevalent.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Rashahiba' — a mature specimen at a large arboretum.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Rashahiba' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger

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