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Port Orford Cedar Chamaecyparis lawsoniana


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Family: Cupressaceae, Cypress view all from this family

Description Large evergreen coniferous tree. Bark reddish-brown, fibrous, long vertical scales. Foliage blue-green flat, feathery sprays. Branches horizontal, drooping. Leaves scale-like, 3-5 mm. long, narrow white markings on underside, flattened shoots. Cones globose, 7-14 mm. diameter, 6-10 scales, green maturing to brown in early fall. Male cones are 3-4 mm. long, dark red turning brown.

Dimensions Height: 21-61 m. (70-200 ft.)
Diameter: 0.8-1.2 m. (2 1/2 -4 ft.).

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns, Mountains.

Range California, Northwest.

Discussion First discovered near Port Orford in Oregon and introduced into cultivation in 1854, by collectors working for the Lawson & Son nursery in Edinburgh, Scotland, after whom it was named as Lawson's Cypress. The USDA officially calls it by the name Port Orford Cedar, but as it is not a cedar, many botanists prefer to avoid the name, using Lawson's Cypress, or Port Orford Cypress to stop confusion. The horticultural industry, in which the species is very important, mostly uses the name Lawson's Cypress.

Fine texture, straight grain, and pleasant, sweet-spicy scent, with durability to weather, rot, insects and decay-resistance. Strongest of all the cedar products it has been the preferred wood for japanese architecture, building boats, railroad ties and fence posts. Heartwood has an in-ground life of 20-25 years.