Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Chamaecyparis Pisifera ‘Plumosa’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa' (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 20m

Eventual Spread: 8m

Hardiness: 4a – 8b

Family: Cupressaceae

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ is a slow-growing evergreen coniferous tree with a conical habit. Its dark green leaves are needle like, up to 4mm long and are arranged in flat, spreading sprays. Its red/ brown bark is vertically fissures. Its flowers are in the form of male pollen cones and female juvenile cones. Its fruit are cones and up to 8mm across.

The species Chamaecyparis pisifera, commonly known as Sawara Cypress or Sawara, is native to central and southern Japan. It was introduced into the UK by j. G. Veitch in 1861.

The etymological root of the binomial name Chamaecyparis is derived from the Greek chamea meaning ’dwarf’ and  kupeiros the ancient Greek name for the Cypress (ironically this is not a dwarf tree). Pisifera is derived from the Latin pisi meaning ‘pea’ and fero meaning ‘to bear’. Plumosa is from the Latin meaning ‘feathered’.

The landscape architect may find Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ useful as an evergreen specimen tree or part of an arboretum type planting scheme.

Ecologically, Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ is of little value to UK wildlife.

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa' Leaf (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ Leaf (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’ requires little maintenance.

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