|The "Lone Cypress" near Monterey, California|
Hartw. ex Gordon
Callitropsis macrocarpa (Hartw.) D.P.Little
Cupressus macrocarpa, commonly known as Monterey cypress, is a species of cypress that is endemic to the Central Coast of California. The native range of the species was confined to two small relict populations, at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach and at Point Lobos near Carmel, California. These two stands represent what was once a very large forest on the west coast. The living trees of these stands are as old as 2000 years.
Cupressus macrocarpa is a medium-sized coniferous evergreen tree, which often becomes irregular and flat-topped as a result of the strong winds that are typical of its native area. It grows to heights of up to 40m in perfect growing conditions, and its trunk diameter can reach 2.5m. The foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2–5 mm long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots; seedlings up to a year old have needle-like leaves 4–8 mm long.
The seed cones are globose to oblong, 20–40 mm long, with 6-14 scales, green at first, maturing brown about 20–24 months after pollination. The pollen cones are 3–5 mm long, and release their pollen in late winter or early spring.
Along with other New World Cupressus species, it has recently been transferred to the genus Callitropsis, on genetic evidence that the New World Cupressus are not very closely related to the Old World Cupressus species.
The two native cypress forest stands are protected, within Point Lobos State Reserve and Del Monte Forest. The natural habitat is noted for its cool, moist summers, almost constantly bathed by sea fog.
This species has been widely planted outside its native range, particularly along the coasts of California and Oregon. Its European distribution includes Great Britain (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), France, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Sicily. In New Zealand, plantings have naturalized, finding conditions there more favorable than in its native range. It has also been grown experimentally as a timber crop in Kenya.
Monterey cypress has been widely cultivated away from its native range, both elsewhere along the California coast, and in other areas with similar cool summer, mild winter oceanic climates. It is a popular private garden and public landscape tree in California.
When planted in areas with hot summers, for example in interior California away from the coastal fog belt, Monterey cypress has proved highly susceptible to cypress canker, caused by the fungus Seiridium cardinale and rarely survives more than a few years. This disease is not a problem where summers are cool.
A number of cultivars have been selected for garden use, including 'Goldcrest', with yellow-green, semi-juvenile foliage (with spreading scale-leaf tips) and 'Lutea' with yellow-green foliage. 'Goldcrest' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
The foliage is slightly toxic to livestock and can cause miscarriages in cattle. Sawn logs are used, by many craftspeople, some boat builders and small manufacturers, as a furniture structural material and a decorative wood because of its fine colours. It is also a fast, hot burning, albeit sparky (therefore not suited to open fires), firewood.
In New Zealand, where it is almost always referred to as macrocarpa, it is most frequently grown as a windbreak tree on farms, usually in rows or shelter belts. It is also planted in New Zealand as an ornamental tree and, occasionally, as a timber tree. There, finding more favorable growing conditions than in its native range, and in the absence of many native pathogens, it often grows much larger, with trees recorded at over 40 m tall and 3 m in trunk diameter. The timber was used for fence posts on New Zealand farms before electric fencing became popular.
- Aurea Saligna—Long cascades of weeping, golden-yellow, thread-like foliage on a pyramidal tree
- Brunniana Aurea—Pillar or conical form with soft rich-golden foliage
- Gold Rocket—Narrow erect form with golden colouring, slow-growing
- Golden Pillar—Compact conical tree with dense yellow shoots and foliage
- Greenstead Magnificent—Dwarf form with blue-green foliage
- Lambertiana Aurea—Hardy upright form tolerating poor soil and climate conditions
Isocupressic acid, a labdane diterpenoid, is an abortifacient component of C. macrocarpa. Monoterpenes (α- and γ-terpinene and terpinolene) are constituents of the foliage volatile oil. The oil exact composition is : α-pinene (20.2%), sabinene (12.0%), p-cymene (7.0%) and terpinen-4-ol (29.6%). Unusual sesquiterpenes can be found in the foliage. Longiborneol (also known as juniperol or macrocarpol) can also be isolated from Monterey cypresses.
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Cupressus macrocarpa. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 9 May 2006. Listed as Vulnerable (VU D2 v2.3)
- C.Michael Hogan and Michael P. Frankis. 2009. Monterey Cypress: Cupressus macrocarpa, GlobalTwitcher.com ed. N. Stromberg
- Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4
- Flora of North America: Cupressus macrocarpa
- Rushforth, K. (1987). Conifers. Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X.
- Little, D. P. (2006). Evolution and circumscription of the true Cypresses. Syst. Bot. 31 (3): 461-480.
- Flora Europaea
- Wagener, W. W. (1948). Diseases of Cypresses. El Aliso 1: 253-321.
- Sloss, V., & Brady, J. W. (1983). Abnormal births in cattle following ingestion of Cupressus macrocarpa foliage. Australian Veterinary Journal 60 (7): 223.
- Palmer, Stanley J., Palmer's manual of Trees, Shrubs and Climbers ISBN 0-7316-9415-5
- Isocupressic acid, an abortifacient component of Cupressus macrocarpa. K. Parton, D. Gardner and N.B. Williamson, New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 1996, Volume 44, Issue 3, doi:10.1080/00480169.1996.35946
- Compositional variations of leaf monoterpenes in Cupressusmacrocarpa, C. pygmaea, C. goveniana, C. abramsiana and C. sargentii. Eugene Zavarin, Lorraine Lawrence and Mary C. Thomas, Phytochemistry, February 1971, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 379–393, doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)94053-6
- Volatile Constituents of Leaf Oils from the Cupressacea Family: Part I. Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw., C. arizonica Greene and C. torulosa Don Species Growing in Argentina. Rubén A. Malizia, Daniel A. Cardell, José S. Molli, Silvia González, Pedro E. Guerra and Ricardo J. Grau, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 2000, Volume 12, Issue 1, doi:10.1080/10412905.2000.9712042
- Sesquiterpenes from Cupressus macrocarpa foliage. Laurence G. Cool, Phytochemistry, January 2005, Volume 66, Issue 2, Pages 249–260, doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.11.002
- Total Syntheses of (+)-Longicamphor and (+)-Longiborneol. Steven C. Welch and Roland L. Walters, Synthetic Communications: An International Journal for Rapid Communication of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, 1973, Volume 3, Issue 6, pages 419-423, doi:10.1080/00397917308065935
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