Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Cupressaceae
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A.Murray bis)Parl.
Lawson cypress

Tag -
54o 34.993N
5o 56.179W
The name Chamaecyparis means 'small conifer' which seems like a joke, as many will reach 60m or more and it is said that no Lawson cypress in Britain has yet stopped growing.(1) The Lawson was introduced to the UK by Lawson's Nursery in Edinburgh in 1854, from its native area in Oregon and NW California. It grows very well here, is tolerant of most soils and is hardy. It has given rise to more cultivars than any other tree species in cultivation. When grown from seed it tends to produce a wide range of leaf colour and growth form. The many cultivars are easily propagated from cuttings.
The base of the leaves clasp the stem and taper to a point. The male cones (pollen cones) are reddish and are typically produced in huge numbers in early spring. The young female cones are a pinkish grey colour, often produced towards the tips of the same branches that carry the pollen cones. The ripe seed cones are about the size of a pea and open to shed their seeds while still attached to the branches where they may remain for several years. The seeds germinate freely.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana foliage

Lawson Cypress, Belfast Botanic Gardens Foliage of Lawson Cypress

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana bark

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana cones

Trunk of Lawson Cypress Old (shed) cones and young pollen cones of Lawson Cypress
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana young female cones Cone with ovulues: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
Young female cones of Lawson Cypress Female cone of Lawson Cypress. Note tubular ovule between the scales and the sticky droplets exuded from the ovules to catch pollen
Male cone Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Leaf detail Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
Pollen cone of Lawson cypress Leaves of Lawson Cypress

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009 and 2010. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

Click here to view the rest of the tree archive

reference (1): The Trees of Britain and Northern Europe by Alan Mitchell and John Wilkinson. Collins, London 1991.