Lawson Cypress Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
A native of the mountains of NW California and SW Oregon between 4000 and 6000ft this is a a valuable tree for shelter belts and screening and is a popular nesting and roosting site for birds such as Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. The tree is cone-like with a drooping leading shoot. The trunk can be multi-branched. The bark is shiny, purplish-brown in colour and with age becomes vertically fissured into long plates. The leaf is scale-like and, typically, rather dark-green above with a pale translucent gland in the centre of the median leaves (hold leaf up to the light - you may need a handlens). The underside of the leaf has narrow white edging to the joints between the scales.
However, with over 200 cultivars, leaf colour can vary from green, through yellow to blue! The crushed leaves give off a resinous, some say, parsley-like aroma.
Flowers and fruit: most trees bear abundant flowers. The male are very small, crimson-tipped and are found at the tips of the finest branches. After shedding pollen in spring, they wither and fall off. The female flowers are slate blue at first ca. 5mm diameter, turning green before opening as woody cones.
The timber is excellent and stable and has been used for house framing, roof trusses, weatherboards, roof shingles, interior panelling, furniture and joinery.