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Arizona cypress

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Arizona cypress
Arizona cypress.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Cupressus arizonica

Arizona Cypress.JPG

The Arizona cypress is a perennial evergreen tree that is native to the Arizona area of United States, but it has the largest natural range of the North American cypress trees. It can be found all throughout the southwest.

In nature, this species of cypress is often found growing in small, scattered populations. It is not commonly found in large forests.[1]

Contents

Anatomy

The bark of the Arizona cypress tree is dark brownish-red. It peels off in long shreds because of its delicateness.


The Arizona cypress is a cone-shaped tree. It has a pale-green to grey-green coloring, and has a strong fragrance that many people enjoy and use to fill their house with a pleasant smell, especially during the Christmas season. Some describe the smell as a mix between lemon and mint, but crushing the leaves creates a very unpleasant smell.[2]

This tree does not have needles like pines and firs do, but has leaves instead. The leaves are tiny and abundant. The color of the leaves ranges from a grayish-green, bluish-green, or silvery shade. They lay in a scale-like arrangement and are about 0.1" long.

The bark of an Arizona cypress tree is very thin. It stays smooth along the length of the trunk, but tends to become fibrous with flat ridges the older it gets. The bark is a deep reddish brown color; it splits into strips in long shreds along the length of the trunk because it is very delicate. [3]

The Arizona cypress has woody cones the are spherical in shape. They are fully mature in about two years time, and persist for years. They are a dark reddish-brown color. In the autumn, the Arizona cypress may have small yellowish flowers that appear.

Reproduction

Arizona cypress is most commonly reproduced by seed germination. Many cultivators have also spread this tree by cutting the root to create copies. This is a handy trick when wanting to produce a large number of the same tree for widespread use, as for Christmas trees. By using this technique, it guarantees that the offspring have the same genetic characteristics as the parent plant.[4]

Ecology

An Arizona cypress in its natural environment. This tree would be healthier in full sun and more space to grow.

The Arizona cypress grows best in full sun. When established it needs little to no water for two to three years, but it does require a minimum of 10 to 12 inches of water annually from then on. It has a frost tolerance to -15 degrees fahrenheit.

It is the only cypress tree that is native to the southwest (mainly in Arizona). It grows most commonly in soils that are very dry and sterile, but also grows well in areas that are better irrigated.

In normal and dry temperatures, the Arizona cypress grows very slowly, but when the ground soil is better irrigated, it can grow much faster. In good conditions, the cypress can grow three feet in a year.

The only real hazards to this tree are fire, high humidity (which can cause disease), mistletoe, rusts, and cypress beetles.[5]

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