Cupressus goveniana

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Cupressus goveniana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Cupressus
Species: C. goveniana
Binomial name
Cupressus goveniana
Cupressus goveniana range map 4.png
Natural range of C. goveniana (sensu stricto)

Cupressus goveniana is a species of cypress endemic to coastal California in the United States, where it is found in small, scattered populations, not in large forests.


It is an evergreen tree with a conic to ovoid-conic crown, very variable in size, with mature trees of under 1 m (3 ft 3 in) on some sites, to 50 m (160 ft) tall in ideal conditions. The foliage grows in dense sprays, dark green to somewhat yellow-green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. The seed cones are globose to oblong, 11–22 mm (0.43–0.87 in) long, with 6 to 10 scales, green at first, maturing brown or gray-brown about 20–24 months after pollination. The cones remain closed for many years, only opening after the parent tree is killed in a wildfire, thereby allowing the seeds to colonize the bare ground exposed by the fire. The male cones are 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) long, and release pollen in February/March; typically, cones of C. goveniana are smaller than those of C. macrocarpa.


There are two or three varieties, treated as distinct species by some botanists:

  • Cupressus goveniana var. goveniana – Gowen cypress (vulnerable)
Monterey County, strictly coastal, within 3 km (1.9 mi) of the coast and below 200 m (660 ft) altitude. Foliage dark green, not rough, with leaf tips not spreading; cones globose.
  • Cupressus goveniana var. pigmaea (C. pigmaea) – Mendocino cypress (vulnerable)
Mendocino and Sonoma counties, coastal, within 10 km (6.2 mi) of the coast and below 500 m (1,600 ft) altitude. Doubtfully distinguishable from var. goveniana, with very similar foliage and cones. More modern taxonomic thinking classifies Mendocino Cypress as a separate species Cupressus pigmaea, and not a variety of C. goveniana.
Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, in the Santa Cruz Mountains 10–20 km (6.2–12.4 mi) inland and at 300–760 m (980–2,490 ft) altitude. More distinct, and could well be a valid species, with yellow–green foliage slightly rough-textured from the acute and slightly spreading leaf tips; cones often oval. It also shows similarities to Cupressus sargentii.


Gowen cypress occurs with Monterey cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa, in the only two groves where C. macrocarpa is known to occur naturally.[3]


  1. ^ A. Farjon (2011). "Cupressus goveniana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ The Plant List, Cupressus goveniana Gordon
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan & Michael P. Frankis (January 27, 2009). "Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa". iGoTerra. 

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