Sawara Cypress (False Cypress)

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
This tree is a gymnosperm with small cones and green, scaly leaves (evidence of being an adult tree). The tree shape was irregular, with some peeling bark on the trunk and vines growing on the street-facing side.
Elizabeth Watson, Nirjhar Kabery, Huey-Ting Li
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
14.40 m
Diameter at breast height: 
1.48 m

The bark of the observed was pale brown, with some having peeled off the trunk and revealing a more reddish color underneath.
Twigs & branches
The branches are long and slender, with the thinner ones appearing somewhat scaly.
The foliage consists of thin, scaly green leaves. There are white glaucous markings on the lack of the leaves.
Reproductive Structures
The tree contains small, brown cones scattered throughout the foliage.
  • Sawara Cypress - Feb 20 - Winter
  • Sawara Cypress - March 5 - Spring (Rainy)
  • Sawara Cypress - March 26 - Spring
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Sawara Cypress is native to Honshu and Kyushu, two islands located in Southern Japan. Over time, it was introduced to a variety of different regions, including the United States in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 - which includes New York and New England - (1849), England (1861), the Netherlands (1861), and Poland (1864). It is often planted for ornamental purposes, with the dwarf variant being commonly found in rock gardens. In Japan, it is regarded as one of “Kiso Goboku” (the Five Sacred Trees of Kiso): a group of five trees from the Kiso valley region that hold great cultural significance. The timber of these trees is prized for its durability and grain quality and has been used in the construction of Shinto shrines, as well as palaces and temples.


1. “Chamaecyparis pisifera.” Missouri Botanical Garden. 

2.  ”Chamaecyparis pisifera.” Royal Botanical Gardens Kew: Plants of the World Online.

3. Frankis, M.P. 1999. “Chamaecyparis pisifera.” The Gymnosperm Database.

4. “The Kiso Forest.” Nakasendo Way, Walk Japan Ltd.

5. Lark, M. E. 2019. “Chamaecyparis pisifera (Sawara false Cypress) ID #1150.” BIO 140 Arboretum Project, Salve Regina University. 10.