Chamaecyparis pisifera (Sawara Cypress or Sawara Japanese: サワラ Sawara) is a species of false cypress, native to central and southern Japan, on the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū.[1][2]

It is a slow-growing coniferous tree growing to 35–50 m tall with a trunk up to 2 m in diameter. The bark is red-brown, vertically fissured and with a stringy texture. The foliage is arranged in flat sprays; adult leaves are scale-like, 1.5–2 mm long, with pointed tips (unlike the blunt tips of the leaves of the related Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki Cypress), green above, green below with a white stomatal band at the base of each scale-leaf; they are arranged in opposite decussate pairs on the shoots. The juvenile leaves, found on young seedlings, are needle-like, 4–8 mm long, soft and glaucous bluish-green. The cones are globose, 4–8 mm diameter, with 6–10 scales arranged in opposite pairs, maturing in autumn about 7–8 months after pollination.[1]

A related cypress found on Taiwan, Chamaecyparis formosensis (Formosan Cypress), differs in longer ovoid cones 6–10 mm long with 10–16 scales.[1] The extinct Eocene species Chamaecyparis eureka, known from fossils found on Axel Heiberg Island in Canada, is noted to be very similar to C. pisifera.[3]

It is grown for its timber in Japan, where it is used as a material for building palaces, temples, shrines and baths, and making coffins, though less valued than the timber of C. obtusa. The wood is lemon-scented and light-colored with a rich, straight grain, and is rot resistant.[4]
(From Wikipedia on 8.12.13)



Chamaecyparis pisifera (Siebold & Zuccarini) Endlicher,

Evergreen tree with flattened slightly drooping branches and acuminate leaves, glossy above and two white lines beneath; female cones hardly 5-6 mm in diameter with scales depressed in center.
Photographed from SFO, California.



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