Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tetragona Aurea' / 4-rowed Golden Hinoki Cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tetragona Aurea' is a shrubby, irregular-conical, dwarf selection of Hinoki cypress with asymmetrical, ascending branches that flatten or slightly nod at the tips. Foliage is crepe-y and fern-like, and held in rows of four along the stem. Exposed surfaces are attractive bright gold in color, while the shaded parts are species-typical green. The variegated effect is quite pleasing. This conifer is superficially similar to Ch. obtusa 'Fernspray Gold,' but the foliage on 'Tetragona Aurea' is a bit more substantial and 'Fernspray Gold' foliage appears more flattened across the stem.

Young plants tend to burn in full sun until well-established. When planted in too much shade, very little if any gold will appear. Best practice is to site the plants in full morning sun and provide adequate irrigation for the first few years in the garden or landscape.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 6 feet (2 m) tall and 3 feet (1 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 cm). Old plans, measuring 20 feet (6 m) tall or more are known to exist in old arboretums and collections.

This cultivar originated long ago in Japan. In 1870, William Barron Nursery of Barrowash, United Kingdom imported the first plants to the European nursery trade. In the Latin language, "tetragona aurea" literally translates into "4-rowed gold."

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Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tetragona Aurea' — Green Industry Images, copyrighted photo.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tetragona Aurea' — Green Industry Images, copyrighted photo.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand

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