Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukumo' / Tsukumo Sawara cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukomo' is a flattened bun-shaped selection of Sawara Cypress with overlapping sprays of dark-green adult foliage. At first glance it bears more a resemblance to a moss-covered rock than a conifer. After 10 years of growth, a mature plant will measure only 12 inches (30 cm) across and 4 inches (10 cm) high, an annual growth rate of around 1 inch (2.5 cm), mostly outward than up.

Oddly, Joel Spingarn of Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA is credited with this cultivar's origin in 1967. It most likely originated well before that in Japan and Spingarn imported the first plants to the west. Occasionally, one will see this planted listed under the cultivar names, 'Pygmy' or 'Pygmaea Tsukomo.'

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Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukumo' — a fantastic older specimen.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukumo' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukumo' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by David Olszyk
Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Tsukumo' — an older specimen at the Flora Wonder arboretum, Gaston, Oregon.
Photo by David Olszyk

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