Monterey Cypress tree identification

The Monterey Cypress Cupressus macrocarpa, a conifer originally from 2 small populations on the Californian coast, was introduced to Britain in 1838 and is now very common on south and south west coasts, where its salt tolerance is beneficial. It is normally a substantial tree as shown here but there is also a variety which is more shrubby. The ‘Goldcrest’ cultivar is found in many gardens

Monterey Cypress tree identification – shoots covered in small scale-leaves, which give off a lemony smell when crushed, smooth cones. It has shoots which stick out beyond the tree outline and these can be seen well in the shrubby variety. Its scale-leaves are like the Italian Cypress but its shape and cones are quite different. Another tree, the Smooth Arizona Cypress, has similar scale-leaves but it differs in having masses of cones at lower levels.

Monterey Cypress tree

A mature tree in a churchyard

Monterey Cypress young tree

Young trees have shoots that stick out at an angle from the main shape of the tree .


Monterey Cypress shoots

The shoots are covered in small scale-like leaves similar to the Italian Cypress.

The scale-like leaves on the lower part of the shoot stick out.


Monterey Cypress male flowers

The ends of the shoots are blunt and have yellow male ‘flowers’ in spring. The leaves give off a smell of lemons when crushed. The ‘flowers’ shed pollen in May. Photo taken in November.

Monterey Cypress cone

The cones have wavy margins between the scales and each scale has a slight ridge at its centre.

Monterey Cypress cone

Close-up of the cone.

Monterey Cypress bark

Old trees have ridged bark.

Monterey Cypress male flowers

The ‘Goldcrest’ is one of the best golden cultivars