Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma' / Wilma Monterey cypress

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma' is a dense, narrow, columnar upright selection of Monterey cypress with more-or-less fastigiate branching and bright-yellow juvenile foliage with a green tint in shaded areas. When crushed the needles smell strongly of lemon, the source of one of the commercial names for this plant, Lemon cypress.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 5 feet (1.8 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of around 6 inches (15 cm).

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom mutation found in 1987 on a specimen of C. macrocarpa 'Goldcrest' by P. Overkleeft Nursery, ‘s-Gravenzande, The Netherlands. It is often seen mislabeled as 'Wilma Goldcrest,' which causes confusion with its parent plant.

This conifer is in mass-production world-wide for use in the houseplant industry because of its hardiness issues. If exposed to temperatures of less than 20°F (-7ºC) for long periods, the plant will probably live, but look terrible. It's perfect choice for gardens in the USDA Zone 9 regions of central California.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma' — a stunning specimen in an arboretum setting.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.
Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by
Romany Software Ltd