Chamaecyparis lawsoniana is a cypress, known by the name Lawson's Cypress in the horticultural trade, or (inaccurately, as it is not a cedar) Port Orford "Cedar" in its native range.in America.
It is a large evergreen coniferous tree, regularly reaching 50 - 70 m (200 ft) tall, with feathery foliage in flat sprays, usually somewhat glaucous blue-green in colour. The leaves are scale-like, 3 - 5 mm long, with narrow white markings on the underside, and produced on somewhat flattened shoots. The seed cones are globose, 7 - 14 mm diameter, with 6 - 10 scales, green at first, maturing brown in early Autumn, 6 - 8 months after pollination. The male cones are 3 - 4 mm long, dark red, turning brown after pollen release in early spring. The bark is reddish-brown, and fibrous to scaly in vertical strips.
It was first discovered (by Euro-Americans) near Port Orford in Oregon and introduced into cultivation in 1854, by collectors working for the Lawson & Son nursery in Edinburgh, Scotland, after whom it was named as Lawson's Cypress by the describing botanist Andrew Murray.
Cultivation and uses
It is of great importance in horticulture, with several hundred named cultivars of varying crown shape, growth rates and foliage colour having been selected for garden planting. It thrives best in well-drained but moist soils. The wood is light and durable, and particularly highly valued in east Asia, with large amounts being exported to Japan where it is in high demand for making coffins. Due to the straightness of its grain, it is also one of the preferred woods for the manufacture of arrow shafts.