Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cypress (Cupressus), a genus belonging to the sub-order Cupressineae of the order Coniferae. They have minute, scale-like leaves, generally overlapping in four rows; minute, elongated male flowers; and small rounded cones made up of from six to ten peltate woody scales, with a curved point in the centre of each, and numerous winged seeds in the axil of each scale. C. sempervircus, the common cypress, is a native of Persia and the Levant, its commoner variety (var. fastigiata) resembling the Lombardy poplar in outline, and reaching, in its native country, 70 to 90 feet. Its timber is hard, reddish, and very durable, and was used by the ancients for mummy-cases, statues of the gods, tables, cabinets, musical instruments, and building purposes. In Turkish cemeteries it is the custom to plant a cypress for every burial, and its dark-coloured foliage and "architectural" form give it a very funereal aspect, The largest known specimen is that at Somma, in Lombardy, 121 feet high and 23 feet round, supposed to be older than the Christian era. The other variety, C. horizontalis, spreading like a cedar, is less commonly planted in England. C. Lawsoniana, a beautiful tree, native of California, where it reaches a height of 100 feet, was introduced into Britain in 1854, and other Californian species are now grown, but cypresses seldom exceed 40 feet in height in Britain. C. glauca or C. lusitanica, the "Cedar of Goa," has been extensively planted round Cintra and elsewhere in Portugal. The name Deciduous Cypress is given to a very different coniferous tree, Taxodium distichum, which forms the cypress swamps of the Southern United States, and is perfectly hardy in England, reaching 50 feet or more in height. It has short twigs bearing minute leaves in two rows (distichous), the whole being feather-like in appearance, turning a bright russet or pink in autumn and falling off whole.