Callitris columellaris

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Callitris columellaris
Callitris columellaris (C. glaucophylla)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnospermae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Cupressales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Callitris
C. columellaris
Binomial name
Callitris columellaris

Callitris arenosa A.Cunn. ex R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.
Callitris columellaris var. campestris Silba
Callitris columellaris subsp. campestris (Silba) Silba
Callitris columellaris f. glauca F.M.Bailey
Callitris columellaris var. intratropica (R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.) Silba
Callitris columellaris subsp. intratropica (R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.) Silba
Callitris columellaris var. microcarpa (Benth.) Govaerts
Callitris glauca R.Br. ex R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.
Callitris glaucophylla J.Thomps. & L.A.S.Johnson
Callitris hugelii (Carrière) Franco
Callitris intermedia R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.
Callitris intratropica R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.
Callitris robusta var. intratropica (R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm.) Ewart & O.B.Davies
Callitris robusta var. microcarpa (Benth.) F.M.Bailey
Frenela columellaris (F.Muell.) Parl.
Frenela hugelii Carrière
Frenela moorei Parl.
Frenela robusta var. microcarpa Benth.
Frenela verrucosa var. laevis C.Moore
Octoclinis backhousei W.Hill

Callitris columellaris is a species of coniferous tree in the family Cupressaceae (cypress family), native to most of Australia. Common names include white cypress,[3] white cypress-pine, Murray River cypress-pine, and northern cypress-pine. Callitris columellaris has become naturalised in Hawaii[4] and in southern Florida.[5][6][7]


It is a small evergreen tree, 4–12 m (rarely to 20 m) high, with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter. The leaves are scale-like, 2–6 mm long and 0.5 mm broad, arranged in decussate whorls of three on very slender shoots 0.7–1 mm diameter. The cones are globose, 1–2 cm diameter, with six triangular scales, which open at maturity to release the seeds.


Some authors (e.g. Thompson & Johnson 1986, followed by the Flora of Australia Online) divide it into three species (or occasionally as varieties), based largely on the foliage colour, with green plants predominating on the east coast of Australia, and glaucous plants in the interior, and on cone size, with on average marginally smaller cones in tropical areas (north of 22°S). However, others (e.g. Blake 1959, Farjon 2005) point out that both the foliage colour and cone size is very variable, even from tree to tree in local populations, and maintain that it is impossible to distinguish three taxa within the species. When split into three species, the following names apply:

  • Callitris columellaris F.Muell. sensu stricto – coastal northeast New South Wales, southeast Queensland.
  • Callitris glaucophylla Joy Thomps. & L.A.S.Johnson (syn. C. columellaris var. campestris Silba; C. glauca nom. inval.; C. hugelii nom. inval.) – throughout most of the southern half of Australia.
  • Callitris intratropica R.T.Baker & H.G.Smith (syn. C. columellaris var. intratropica Silba) – northern Queensland, northern Northern Territory, northern Western Australia.


Eric Rolls described the pollination of C.columellaris thus: "At pollination time when hundreds of cones go off together with a sharp crack and spurt brown pollen a metre into the air, the whole tree shivers."[8]



  1. ^ Thomas, P. (2013). "Callitris columellaris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42206A2961309. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42206A2961309.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Callitris columellaris F.Muell. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  3. ^ "White cypress". Business Queensland. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Callitris columellaris". Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2 July 2003. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  5. ^ Florida plant atlas: Callitris columellaris
  6. ^ Florida plant atlas details: Callitris columellaris
  7. ^ "Search results". University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS) Collection Catalog, Florida Museum of Natural History. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  8. ^ Rolls, E. "Chapter 23 Perfumed pines: the exploited, and the exploiter in Perfumed Pineries Environmental history of Australia's Callitris forests.pdf" (PDF). p. 208. Retrieved 2019-12-01.

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