February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Cupressaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Chamaecyparis This genus in the Cupressaceae family consists of some 8 species from North America and eastern Asia. It is distinguished from the true Cupressus by its small cones and short branches which have small leaves arranged in pairs and flattened to the stems of the branchlets. The young foliage becomes more scale-like as it ages. It has separate male and female flowers and produces small round seeds. The narrow winged seeds ripen in the first year. Several of the many ornamental cultivars are used for hedging. The timber has many uses including house interiors, fences and matches. Contact with the foliage can cause skin allergies in some people. CULTIVATION: This genus is lime and air-pollution tolerant but will grow better in neutral to acid soil. Propagate from half-hardened cuttings taken in summer or seed sown in autumn or spring. Early trimming is necessary. Named cultivars should be grafted in late winter or early spring.
Juniperus This genus consists of approximately 60 generally slow-growing evergreen trees and shrubs in the family Cupressaceae. It occurs naturally only in the Northern Hemisphere where it is widely distributed. It is the most drought-hardy genus of all the conifers. The larger trees are valued for their timber and all species are long lived, performing particularly well on alkaline soils. Two foliage types are seen: juvenile, which is awl-shaped (curved and needle-like), and adult, which is scale-like and stem-clasping. Most species display both foliage types but some selected cultivars remain true to only one or the other. Many offer outstanding ornamental value because of texture, color or both. When crushed, the foliage of most is pungently aromatic. The small, fleshy, berry-like fruits are actually cones that ripen to blue-black or reddish. Gin is processed from those of the common juniper. Usually separate male and female plants are found. CULTIVATION: Although drought hardy and tough, these plants are susceptible to fungal attack and should be given an open airy situation. Well-drained soils are essential. Regular light pruning maintains shape but bare wood should not be cut into as it rarely sprouts. Propagation from fresh seed is best, although named cultivars should be either grafted or grown from a cutting (with a heel of older wood) in winter. The new season?s terminal growth will also strike readily.
Thuja This genus consists of 5 coniferous evergreen trees within the Cupressaceae family. Their natural habitat is North America and East Asia, in high rainfall woodland or damp, cold, coastal and lowland plains. The bark is reddish brown and comes off in long vertical strips on mature trees. The leaflets are flattened and scale-like. Solitary male cones grow on the end of branchlets and the solitary female cones, with 6 to 12 overlapping scales, grow lower down. These are important timber trees. Thuja occidentalis has soft fragrant wood mainly used for railway sleepers, fencing and medicinal oil. T. plicata?s timber is used for shingles and boats, as the wood is weather resistant. Although the sawdust can aggravate asthma, these trees are often used for hedging and greenery for floristry. The aromatic foliage can cause skin allergies. CULTIVATION: Young trees do well in full sun in deep, moist, well-drained soil, but need shelter from cold drying winds. They will survive boggy areas that are too wet for other conifers. Propagate by sowing seed in winter in an area protected from frosts, or by rooting half-hardened cuttings in late summer.

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