T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Hesperocyparis macrocarpa (Macrocarpa)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Hesperocyparis
Species: H. macrocarpa
Binominal name: Hesperocyparis macrocarpa
Synonyms: Callitropsis macrocarpa, Cupressus macrocarpa, Neocupressus macrocarpa
Common names. Macrocarpa, Monterey cypress

Name revision: 17 October 2013: Scientific name changed from Cupressus macrocarpa to Hesperocyparis macrocarpa.

Macrocarpa is a species of cypress endemic to the central coast of California. In the wild, the species is confined to two small populations, near Monterey and Carmel. These two small populations represent what was once a very large forest on the west coast. The surviving trees from this forest are as old as 2000 years.
Hesperocyparis macrocarpa is a large-sized evergreen area. It normally grows to a height of 10 to 24 metres, with a trunk up to 2 metres across the base, It fully-matured at, 40 years and over,
The foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in colour. 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.

In New Zealand, interspecific hybrids and backcrosses between Monterey cypress and Mexican cypress (H. lusitanica), and Monterey cypress and Arizona cypress (H. arizonica), occur in cultivation. These species have also been crossed artificially.
The main variety of Macrocarpa found throughout New Zealand is native to Monterey, California (hence its name Monterey Cypress) and is thought to have been introduced to New Zealand by miners who came here for the 1860s gold rushes.. Originally macrocarpa trees were planted in New Zealand for shelter-belts and as a general utility timber on farms. Much of it was milled for use as posts, railings and fence battens. Because of its general weather-resisting properties it was ideal for this purpose, but was ousted by the convenience and ready-availability of tanalised pine and electric fencing.

The seed cones