Chamaecyparis obtusa / Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa, as described in 1847 by (Siebold et Zuccarini) Stephan Friedrich Ladislaus Endlicher (1804–1849), in Synopsis Coniferarum, 63rd edition, is commonly known as 檜 or 桧 (Hinoki or Finuchi) in the Japanese language or simply Hinoki cypress or false-cypress. The epithet references the blunt (or obtuse) foliage tips.


Description. Hinoki cypress is an evergreen coniferous species of tree in the Cupressaceae family which grows to mature heights 130 feet (40 m) tall with a 10 foot (3 m) trunk diameter, measured at breast height.

  • Trunk is straight, bark reddish brown, fibrous, and fissured into thin strips.
  • Branchlets are slender and closely arranged in one horizontal plane.
  • Foliage is subulate on seedlings, then scale-like, densely imbricate, closely appressed, dark green above, with white marks beneath The apex is obtuse and often keeled.
  • Seed ones are globose at maturity , 0.3 to 0.5 inch (8 - 12 mm) in diameter, with 8-10 scales , each scale smoothly rounded and minutely mucronate, the apical pair of scales fused.
  • Seeds about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long, narrowly winged, and about 0.16 inch (4 mm) in diameter.

Distribution. This species is native to southern Japan.

Attribution from: Chris Earle, The Gymnosperm Database, ©2012

Chamaecyparis obtusa — photographed by David in his Kansas garden, USA during October of 2006.
Photo by David Stegmaier
Chamaecyparis obtusa, Hinoki Cypress, Tanzawa Mountains, Japan
Photo by Σ64, via Wikipedia commons