Cupressus sempervirens (Common cypress) is an evergreen coniferous tree which reaches up to 30 meters tall. It is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region but widely distributed in various parts of the world. It is commonly known as common cypress, Italian cypress, Mediterranean cypress andevergreen cypress etc. Its natural habitats are the semi-arid mountains around the Eastern Mediterranean basin and Middle East. It is a dominant tree in pine forest and form the pure forest. The bark is grayish brown, horizontally spreading branches, branch-lets are ultimate ones 4-angled up to 1 mm in diameter. The leaves are densely appressed, dark green in colour, about 0.5-1 mm in length and have 4 ranks. The seed cones are yellowish gray in colour when ripen, sub-globose or ellipsoid in shape and about 2-4 cm in length & 2-3 cm in width. The cone scales open up slightly in the autumn or in winter to release the seeds. Each cone contains 8-20 seeds. It is also possible for the cones to remain unopened on the tree for many years until a fire induces them to open and shed seeds. The tree is known to be long lived reported to be over 1000 years old. One of the oldest living cypresses is located in Italy which is more than 800 years old. The plant adopted two growth habits i.e. fastigiate or horizontal. The horizontal form of tree originated from predates human activity while fastigiate form is from horticulture origin dating to early historic times.
Landscaping Ideas For Cupressus sempervirens
Cupressus sempervirens can be grow in association withJuniperus excelsa, Quercus spp., Poterium spinosum and Pinusbrutia. It is used in formal landscapes and gardens. The trees should be planted about 3 feet apart to make dense screen. It is often used for farming entrances and buildings.
How to propagate Cupressus sempervirens
Cupressus sempervirens can be propagated through seeds and cuttings. Other methods like grafting and tissue culture is not mostly used. Cuttings are taken from healthy trees that are about six inches long and rooting hormone is needed to promote rooting. The propagation through seeds have a slow growth rate as the seeds require time for germination. The seeds germinates readily if subjected to stratification.
How to take care of Cupressus sempervirens
- Cupressus sempervirens grows on sandy, loamy and heavy soil.
- It prefers well drained and nutritionally poor soil but does not grow on highly humid and organically rich soil.
- It required full sunlight and grow well in the optimum temperature of 15-20˚C.
- It grows best with the mean annual rainfall of 1000 mm but can also tolerate the mean annual rainfall of less than 600 mm and drought of months.
- The adult plant has ability to tolerate frost and survive being covered with snow for several months while young plants do not tolerate frost.
- Their pollens cause respiratory allergies in some areas but pruning before pollination seasons will avoid allergies.
- It is moderately susceptible to cypress canker caused by the Seiridium cardinal fungus and sap sucking aphid Cinaracupressi.
Benefits of Cupressus sempervirens
- Cupressus sempervirens is cultivated as an ornamental and timber tree.
- It is known for its durable and scented wood which is used for furniture, door and window frames.
- The wood has natural insect repellent odor which makes it suitable for wardrobes to store clothes and foods.
- Their fruits are used as antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, anthelmintic, vasoconstriction and aromatherapy.
- An essential oil is distilled from the shoots and used in making of soap and perfumery.
- The tree is planted as a windbreak in agriculture areas.