This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Evergreen shrubs or trees with minute scale-like imbricate or linear-acute spreading leaves and monoecious flowers. Fruit globular, composed of peltate ligneous persistent scales separating at maturity to free the usually numerous slightly-winged seeds. Species numerous, occurring in Asia from the Black Sea, through the mountains of India to China, and in North America. The classical name of the Upright Cypress. We must limit ourselves to descriptions of the hardier species, and append a list of the tenderer sorts that will only succeed in Britain in a few favoured spots.
1. C. Lawsoniana. - A highly ornamental tree from 80 to 100 feet high with elegant drooping branches and very slender flexible crowded feathery branchlets. Leaves dark glossy green, more or less tinged with a glaucous hue, very minute and closely imbricated, obtuse, or acute usually furnished with an obscure tubercle towards the apex. Fruit small; scales with a small straight central prickle. This is one of the most invariable evergreens in trifling details of habit and in hue of foliage, and a few striking varieties have been preserved. One raised by Mr. Anthony Waterer, of Knaphill, and named erecta viridls, is very distinct in its erect habit and deep green foliage. The variegated varieties aurea and argentea are not so desirable as many other variegated shrubs. The names compacta, Iaxa, gracilis, stricta, nivea, minima, and intermedia designate some of the varieties distinguished by nurserymen, and sufficiently explain their individual peculiarities. This magnificent and extremely hardy evergreen is a native of Upper California.
C. fragrans, syn. C. aromatica and C. Californica, is a closely allied species from the same region. It is a lofty slender tree with feathery branches and angular narrow acute light glaucous green leaves.
2. C. macrocarpa. - A tree of medium size with numerous stout spreading branches forming a flat top, and very dark green closely imbricated foliage. Fruit large. This is undoubtedly one of the most splendid ornamental trees we have, but, although perfectly hardy in exposed places, it will not succeed well in a low humid situation. This is probably owing in a great measure to its extremely rapid and late growth, and consequent imperfectly ripened wood. C. Lambertiana scarcely differs even to the extent of a variety except in having pendulous branches when young. Upper California.
3 G. Nutkaensis, syn. Thuiopsis borealis. - This fine species is better known in gardens under the latter appellation. It is a fast-growing tree from 80 to 100 feet high with numerous branches and drooping branchlets densely clothed with small closely imbricated very acute leaves destitute of tubercles, of a rich dark green, slightly glaucous on the lower surface or shady side of the branches. A very hardy and desirable evergreen, from North-western America.
4. C. thyoides, syn. Chamaecyparis sphaeroidea. White Cedar. - A tree from 30 to 60 feet or more high. Branchlets slender, not plaited. Leaves very minute, closely imbricated, furnished with a small tubercle about the centre, light green, soon falling from the older branchlets. There are several varieties, and the one called vaviegata is very handsome, with golden yellow and green foliage. The var. glauca or Kewensis is distinguished by the distinct glaucous hue of its foliage.
5. C. sempervirens. - This is the species so commonly blanted in the South of Europe and Asia Minor, especially the variety fastigiata, or Upright Cypress (fig. 220), which is found in some places above a hundred feet high, with closely appressed branches like a Lombardy Poplar. Another variety, horizontalis, has spreading branches, forming a flat-topped tree.
Fig. 220. Cupressus sempervirens var. fastigiata.
This is scarcely hardy in Britain, though it will succeed tolerably well in some places where the soil is free and porous and not rich enough to induce luxuriant growth. But a handsome specimen is rarely seen. It is supposed to be indigenous in Asia Minor and Persia.
6. C. Macnabiana, syn. C. glandu-losa. - A densely branched shrub of pyramidal outline, growing about 10 feet high in its native country. With us it forms a dense dwarf glaucous bush. A native of California.
Amongst the tenderer species occasionally seen are: C. funebris and G. Corneyana from China; C. excelsa, C. Goveniana, C. Knightiana, and G. Uhdeana from Mexico; and C. toru-ldsa and C. Lusitanica from India. The latter is known as the Cedar of Goa, and was formerly extensively planted in Spain and Portugal, where it now appears in a semi-wild state; hence the specific name.