Cupressus macrocarpa


Photograph by Tom Gillespie.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.


Cupressus macrocarpa – Monterey cypress, just off the 17-Mile Drive near Pebble Beach, California, looking north from the pedestrian walkway to the Lone Cypress, December, 1995. Mr. Gillespie wonders “how much erosion has taken place since.”



I spent the winter of ‘70-‘71 at Ft. Ord. On weekends some buddies and I used to walk along the shore, behind the firing ranges, down to Monterey, and even to Carmel. What a beautiful area. No wonder real estate there is now a billion dollars a foot, or something equally out of my range.

Sorry for the drive by posting above but for a change I have some expertise in this area! I have a honours degree in forestry science from University of Canterbury NZ, Forestry School.

Macrocarpa is an interesting immigrant to New Zealand as in some ways it is a superior timber species compared to its cousin Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine). Both from Monterey, and with similar growth rates in NZ climate, however, the highly fluted trunk of macrocarpa means the sawn timber yield per stem is lower than a more rounded stem. Extensive breeding and cloning trials have not improved this yield to match Pinus Radiata.

The timber has a beautiful honey coloured finish, but has stability problems and needs plenty of drying and weathering before finishing. About 6 months per inch (25mm) of drying is needed.


Er… Hesperocyparis macrocarpa is now the accepted name in California (see[…]pl?tid=89298) – it was determined if California cypresses were kept in Cupressus, junipers would have to be in Cupressus as well (to keep Cupressus monphyletic), and nobody wanted to do that.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on March 3, 2014 12:00 PM.

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