Leyland Cypress

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The Leyland Cypress is the hybrid cross between Monterey cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa, and Alaska cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. It is a tall and slender evergreen tree, and is very popular to plant as a screen or wind breaker because it forms a dense barrier, and can grow well in a variety of soil and climate conditions. In the Marsh Gardens, it is ironically planted in the middle of a relatively open area, so it does not serve its usual purpose as a wind breaker whatsoever.
Brian Matusovsky, Stephanie Leyva
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
4.82 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.27 m

The Leyland Cypress has a scaly, red and cinnamon colored bark.
Twigs & branches
This tree has many concentric branches. They all reach upwards into the air, forming a conical or columnar shape. These long ascending compact branches are red or cinnamon except for the shoots, which are green. Its twigs are resistant to breakage. The Leyland Cypress is a vigorous tree, densely foliaged to the base.
This tree has pleasing mid-green or blue-green sprays of foliage made up of scale-like needles, which are soft to touch. Its scale-like, simple leaves are arranged in opposite/subopposite arrangement. Its typical leaf blade length is 2 inches. They do not show any color change during the fall.
Reproductive Structures
This tree has small cones all through its foliage. Both sexes of reproductive organs are found on the same tree. The round cones are intermediate between those of its parents in size 1-2 cm in diameter and in number of scales are 8. They are greenish, and later turn to grey or chocolate brown. The seeds ripen in the second year, but this variety of tree is sterile due to being a hybrid.
Gymnosperm - cones.
Natural range of distribution: 
The Leyland cypress grows well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It is known for being resilient to a wide variety of conditions, and easy to grow. As this tree is a hybrid and does not generally grow in nature, it does not have any "natural habitat". However, the image above shows that Leyland cypress tends to be grown in the shaded area, specifically in the green part. Its parent species of trees are native to the coastal regions of northwestern North America (Cupressus nootkatensis) and the Central Coast of California (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa). This hybrid has naturally arisen due to cross-pollination on a number of occasions, mostly in the United States and Western Europe. This tree provides negligible wildlife benefits, but it does provide winter cover for songbirds and game birds, and is often used as a shield against wind for gardens and nature preserves.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Leyland Cypress is a natural hybrid. The variety that is commonly planted today arose in England at Leighton Hall (a wealthy estates in Wales) in 1888, when C. J. Leyland planted seeds from the cones of an Alaska cedar that were fertilized by the Monterey cypress. The tree produced had amazing rates of growth, was resistant to pruning, and was very attractive. It was named after Leyland himself. 

The tree has become a widely popular since, due to its tolerance to different soil conditions. There are several cultivates that have been bred to have specific attributes found favorable among gardeners and landscape engineers. 

As this tree is sterile (as most hybrids are), it is mostly propagated by cuttings. 

Like most conifers, this is an evergreen tree that does not exhbit any significant seasonal change.
Other information of interest: 

Pests: Bagworms are known to infest Leyland Cypress. They feed on the scale-like leaves, leaving brown spots.  They can devour an entire tree in a week or two! 

Diseases: Seridium canker is the most damaging Leyland Cypress disease. Cankers disease kills or weakens part of a branch that is infected until it breaks free from the tree. Cankers are long, oval, brown/purplish sunken patches on the bark that are often accompanied with resin flow. 

Media and Arts

“Ode to Leyland Cypress I”

Your branches reach up into the sky

take in the wind, sun, and rain

take in all with open arms

as though the world is in endless spring

You are always green, always growing

thankful for everything that comes your way

we will bring to you our thoughts, dreams, and wishes

and leave them to your eternal praise

“Ode to Leyland Cypress II”

You stand up tall, for you are a tree

and in our wandering we see

your splendor, green and mighty leaves

scales holding secrets

we wish to steal like theives

but who am I but little me

human and young and wandering free

wishing to one day be rooted and strong

strong like your trunk and branches so long.

“Ode to Leyland Cypress III”

You do not rely on bees

on fancy flowers, fragrant tricks

your needle-like leaves are simple

your bark is cut so neat

You do not rely on anyone or anything

Growing wherever you are placed

pulling strength from the Earth

You do not rely on seasons

Green all year and growing upwards, already so high

You stand proudly against the mightiest of forces

Your existance is proof of the magic that is time