Forest 95 - Yunnan Cypress

Cupressus duclouxiana

Cupressus duclouxiana seed cones. Photo not from the Arboretum, by Aljos Cupressus duclouxiana trees growing near the Mekong River in Yunnan. Photo by Aljos

Other common names

Chinese cypress, Chinese: gan xiang bai.

Origin of the species name

Cupressus is Latin for cypress; duclouxiana commemorates the French Missionary and plant collector F. Ducloux.



Date planted

June 2011


Trees of this species are long lived.

General description

This is an evergreen conifer. It has fibrous reddish-brown bark with a conical crown when young and rounded or broadly domed when old. Its branches are slender and horizontal and densely arranged. The branchlets are spreading or drooping but not pendulous. The cones are near the ends of the branches and are either singular or in groups. Height 16m Spread 14m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is found only in China. The natural stands are very scattered and are confined to deep river gorges and some stands appear to be mostly pure. It grows in dry to moist seasonally moist coniferous forest at altitudes ranging from 1,900-3,300 metres, in rocky, gravelly or sandy soils.

Conservation status

Yunnan cypress is an endangered species threatened by habitat loss. China has prohibited the cutting of old growth C. duclouxiana since 1989, and some old trees have been protected as Buddhist holy trees.

Planting pattern

Planted in a complex pattern of interconnected forest glades.


Although in limited supply now, it is likely that the timber was valued when the species was more common. It is widely cultivated around Kunming and Yunnan, from where it has subsequently invaded areas nearby.

Further reading

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