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Scientific: Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica
Common: Arizona cypress
Family: Cupressaceae
Origin: Lower and drier mountainous regions of the southwest United States south into north central Mexico.

Pronounciation: koo-PRES-sus air-i-ZO-ni-ka

Hardiness zones
USDA 7-11

Landscape Use: Background, informal LARGE screen, medium size tree. Arizona cypress is especially great for use in Arizona landscapes at higher elevation.

Form & Character: Upright and ovate to oblong, symmetrical, dense, dry, blue gray. This is a signature tree of upland Arizona woodlands below the Ponderosa pine forests.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, woody, perennial narrowleaf tree, moderately upright in habit to 15- to 50-feet tall with a somewhat lesser spread. Variably vigorous depending on water availability.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves glaucous to bluish, scale-like in the classic 'juniper' sense scarcely or not overlapping at all; twigs are slender, square, covered in scale-like leaves, pointed at tips, turning gray with age; typically branch at nearly right angles, mature trees develop a stout trunk with a smooth a fibrous phellum (bark); fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Monoecious, male inflorescence are small, pale yellow-green at ends of branch tips; female inflorescence are small light green near branch tips; fruit are dry, round, woody, serotinous (open with fire) cones, 1 inch in diameter, 6 to 8 pointed scales.

Seasonal Color: None, though the bark is very always attractive, shredding and peeling in long strips to reveal gray and reddish brown patches. On older trees the bark may develop a fine, shallow furrowed pattern or reveal a mottled patchy look.

Temperature: Tolerant, hardy to -15oF and struggles when temperatures exceed 110oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Widely tolerant of acid to alkaline soils.

Watering: Infrequent but regular deep summer irrigations are needed.

Pruning: Rarely except to control shape.

Propagation: Hardwood cuttings of male plants.

Disease and Pests: Spider mites and juniper scale are the biggest problems.

Additional comments: Arizona cypress is generally not thought of as a landscape plant for the "desert". However, it does quite well in Phoenix, and grows well as a landscape tree along the west coast, and throughout the southwest and southeast United States. 'Blue Ice' is a rare columnar cultivar that has a distinct grayish blue color that gives it a host-like image as if it had been snowing. Beware of this tree's eventual size and spread!

Arizona State University (ASU) historical factoid: The oldest documented tree currently alive on the ASU campus is an Arizona cypress that was planted in 1910 by James Carter.

Fun forestry factoid: During the mid and later 20th century, foresters in the southeast United States at Auburn University conducted research on the feasibility of growing Arizona cypress as a Christmas tree.