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Cupressaceae: Cypress or Cedar Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Cupressaceae
Plants of the Cypress or Cedar Family

(Including members of the former Bald Cypress Family)

      If you have ever smelled cedar or juniper wood, then you know the Cypress family. These are mostly evergreen trees or shrubs with small, scaly leaves and separate male and female cones, sometimes on separate trees. The seed cones are typically woody or leathery, with one to several seeds behind each scale. The juniper "berry" is really a cone with merged, fleshy scales.

      Worldwide, there are about 27 genera and 130 species. The former Bald Cypress Family (Taxodiaceae) is now included within the Cypress family. Most species are richly aromatic, especially useful as incense. The wood is naturally resistant to decay and frequently used for construction and fence posts.

      The cypress swamps of Florida are well known both for the distinctive ecology and the distinctive aerial roots that brace the trees upright in the water. On the other side of the country, the giant sequoia of California is the largest living thing on earth. The nearby redwoods are also huge in size. The trees shed a portion of their narrow leaves or twigs each year, so they are considered deciduous, even though they retain enough leaves to appear evergreen. Look around the base of the trees for signs of the shedding twigs and leaves.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.


Juniperus horizontalis. Creeping Juniper.

Juniperus horizontalis. Creeping Juniper. Pony, Montana.

Juniperus communis. Ground Juniper.

Juniperus communis. Ground Juniper. Elkhorn Mountains. Elkhorn, Montana.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West
Juniperus scopulorum. Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Juniperus scopulorum. Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Juniperus deppeana. Aligator Juniper.

Juniperus deppeana. Aligator Juniper.

Juniperus deppeana. Aligator Juniper.

Juniperus deppeana. Aligator Juniper. Chiricahua Mountains. Arizona.

Juniperus osteosperma. Utah Juniper.

Juniperus osteosperma. Utah Juniper.

Juniperus osteosperma. Utah Juniper.

Juniperus osteosperma. Utah Juniper. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Utah.

Cupressus arizonica. Arizona Cypress.

Cupressus arizonica. Arizona Cypress. Chiricahua National Monument. Arizona.

Sequoia sempervirens. California Redwood.

Sequoia sempervirens. California Redwood.

Thuja plicata. Western Red Cedar.

Thuja plicata. Western Red Cedar.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

There are more
Cypress Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Botany in a Day
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Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

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