Forest 57 - Chilean Cedar

Austrocedrus chilensis

Austrocedrus chilensis male cones. Photo not from the Arboretum 

Other common names

Cordilleran cypress; Spanish: cipres dela Cordillera

Origin of the species name

Austrocedrus is from Latin for southern cedar; chilensis refers to its country of origin



Date planted

September 2011

Austrocedrus chilensis tree. Photo not from the Arboretum


Trees of this species can be very long lived, with some documented as living over 900 years. Other trees are thought to be over 1500 years old.

General description 

This is a medium sized evergreen conifer with a multi-stemmed trunk with fissured and scaly grey bark. The crown tends to be pyramidal with dense foliage branches. The leaves are scale like and the small cones are often clustered on branchlets. Height 15m Spread 10m.

Natural distribution and habitat  

The species is native to Chile and Argentina. In the Andes, it grows in climates ranging from Mediterranean to sub-montane. It often occurs in pure stands on rocky outcrops where other species cannot grow.

Conservation status

It is currently considered to be a vulnerable species being threatened by land clearance for both urban development and agriculture, the establishment of plantations of exotic trees and fire. Only a small percentage of the forests are within protected areas and livestock are a problem even within the reserves.

Planting pattern

Planted in a variable square grid pattern.


The timber is used for carpentry such as the production of wooden panels and for the manufacture of indoor and outdoor furniture.

Further reading

Farjon, A (2010) A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Brill.