Cypress is a common name for various coniferous trees or shrubs from the Cupressus genus of the Cupressaceae family, typically found in warm-temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Europe, and North America.[1]


Cypress trees typically reach heights of up to 25 metres (82 ft) and exhibit a pyramidal form, particularly in their youth. Many are characterised by their needle-like, evergreen foliage and acorn-like seed cones. Some species develop flattened, spreading heads at maturity, while certain variants may manifest as shrubs, standing at less than 6 metres (20 ft). The bark of cypress trees varies, with some species having smooth surfaces, while most exhibit bark that separates into thin plates or strips, often shedding over time. Leaves of young cypress trees are spreading and awl-shaped, and are typically small, scale-like formations that tightly adhere to older branches. They are usually aromatic, with glandular pits on the outer surface, and cover the stem in opposite pairs, giving the branchlet a four-sided appearance.[1]


Cypress is any of the twelve species of ornamental and timber evergreen conifers constituting the genus Cupressus of the family Cupressaceae. Many resinous, aromatic evergreen trees called cypress belong to other genera of the same family, especially species of false cypress and cypress pine. The name cypress is occasionally used for some species of fustic and for bald cypress, and it often denotes jack pine in eastern Canada.[1]

Species that are commonly known as cypresses include:

Other species include:

Plants named cypress


The word cypress is derived from Old French cipres, which was imported from Latin cypressus, the latinisation of the Greek κυπάρισσος (kyparissos).[21][22]


In Greek mythology, Cyparissos, Cyparissus or Kyparissos (Ancient Greek: Κυπάρισσος, "cypress") was a male lover of Apollo,[23] as well as other deities in other versions of mythology.

In the most prevalent version of the story, Cyparissus receives a stag as a gift from Apollo, which he accidentally kills with a spear while hunting in the forest. Cyparissus is overwhelmed by pain and sorrow, and asks Apollo to allow his tears to flow for eternity. Apollo transforms Cyparissus into a cypress tree, and the sap that typically drips down the tree's trunk represents Cyparissus' tears.[23][24]

Consequently, the cypress emerged as a symbol of mourning, sadness, and loss in classical mythology, thereby serving an aetiological purpose in explaining its cultural significance.[23] Due to its connection to grief, the cypress became one of the symbols of Hades and has been planted in cemeteries since the classical era. During the Renaissance period, the myth of Kyparissos was revived, and is depicted in several works of art and poetry.[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Cypress | Growing, Pruning & Planting Tips | Britannica". 2024-03-22. Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  2. ^ a b "Cupressus sempervirens L. GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  3. ^ "Cupressus lusitanica Mill. var. lusitanica GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  4. ^ a b "Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A. Murray bis) Parl. GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  5. ^ "USDA Plants Database". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  6. ^ "Taxodium distichum (L". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  7. ^ a b "Taxodium mucronatum Ten. GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  8. ^ a b "Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  9. ^ a b "Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  10. ^ a b "Thujopsis dolabrata (Thunb. ex L. f.) Siebold & Zucc. GRIN-Global". Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  11. ^ Pauw, C.A.; Linder, H.P. (1997). "Widdringtonia systematics, ecology and conservation status". Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 123: 297–319. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1997.tb01421.x.
  12. ^ Thomas, P.; Yang, Y.; Farjon, A.; Nguyen, D. & Liao, W. (2011). "Glyptostrobus pensilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T32312A9695181. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T32312A9695181.en. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4.
  14. ^ "Actinostrobus". Flora of Australia Online. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government.
  15. ^ "Callitris". Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
  16. ^ "Chamaecyparis". Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
  17. ^ Thomas, P.; Yang, Y. (2013). "Chamaecyparis hodginsii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T32351A2815809. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T32351A2815809.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  18. ^ Luebert, Federico; Pliscoff, Patricio (2017) [2006]. Sinopsis bioclimática y vegetacional de Chile (in Spanish) (2nd ed.). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria. pp. 192–195 and 208–209. ISBN 978-956-11-2575-9.
  19. ^ Hogan, C. Michael; Frankis, Michael P. (2009). "Monterey Cypress: Cupressus macrocarpa". Archived from the original on 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  20. ^ "Cupressus nootkatensis". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015.
  21. ^ κυπάρισσος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  22. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary".
  23. ^ a b c d Parry, Katy (2022-01-14). "Cupressus sempervirens". Chelsea Physic Garden. Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  24. ^ "24/7 Emergency Care in Cypress: Fairfield Emergency Room". Fairfield Emergency Room. Retrieved 2024-05-23.