Cupressaceae (cypress family) Hesperocyparis

Hesperocyparis arizonica Arizona cypress

Southwestern United States, Mexico
Cupressus arizonica (syn.)
Rough-bark Arizona cypress on California Ave, Palo Alto. Sairus Patel, 8 Oct 2023
Pair of smooth-bark Arizona cypress at Hanna House. Sairus Patel, 9 Aug 2023

This rough-barked tree of the desert mountains is distinguished from the Monterey cypress mainly by its glaucous leaves and cones. It is popular for planting in the Southwest and also as a shapely Christmas tree. See one southwest of the fountain at California Avenue and Park Boulevard in Palo Alto, planted in 2015 (map pin). There are a few small individuals on the north side of Sand Hill Road west of I-280 along the horse park property.

Smooth-barked Arizona cypress (H. a. var. glabra, sometimes treated as H. glabra) has succeeded on campus but has been sacrificed to construction except for a pair at the southern edge of the parking lot at Hanna House (map pin), and at Escondido Elementary School in the fenced play yard bordering Stanford Avenue. A large specimen soars at the edge of the clearing at the Menlo Park end of the bridge in El Palo Alto Park. One at 3366 Ross Road, Palo Alto, stands behind the fence on the Ames Road side of the property.

Seed and pollen cones on rough-bark Arizona cypress, California Ave, Palo Alto. Sairus Patel, 2 Oct 2023

Name derivation: Hesperocyparis – Greek hesperos (western) and kyparissos (cypress); arizonica – from Arizona; glabra – Latin for smooth.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings added the Sand Hill and Welch locations. Two Palo Alto and one Menlo Park locations added; minor edits; genus name updated (Dec 2023, SP).