is a cypress in the genus Chamaecyparis
, family Cupressaceae
, known by the name Lawson's Cypress
in the horticultural trade, or Port Orford-cedar
in its native range (although not a true cedar
). C. lawsoniana
is native to the southwest of Oregon
and the far northwest of California
in the United States
, occurring from sea level up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) altitude in mountain valleys, often along streams.
It is a large evergreen coniferous tree
, regularly reaching 50-70 m (200 ft) tall, with feathery foliage in flat sprays, usually somewhat glaucous blue-green in colour. The leaves are scale-like, 3-5 mm long, with narrow white markings on the underside, and produced on somewhat flattened shoots. The seed cones
are globose, 7-14 mm diameter, with 6-10 scales, green at first, maturing brown in early fall, 6–8 months after pollination. The male cones are 3-4 mm long, dark red, turning brown after pollen release in early spring. The bark is reddish-brown, and fibrous to scaly in vertical strips.
It was first discovered (by Euro-Americans) near Port Orford
in Oregon and introduced into cultivation in 1854, by collectors working for the Lawson & Son nursery in Edinburgh
, after whom it was named as Lawson's Cypress by the describing botanist Andrew Murray
. The USDA
officially calls it by the name Port Orford Cedar, as do most people in its native area, but as it is not a cedar
, many botanists prefer to avoid the name, using Lawson's Cypress, or in very rare instances Port Orford Cypress, instead to stop confusion. The horticultural industry, in which the species is very important, mostly uses the name Lawson's Cypress.