Gowen cypress is a native, evergreen tree. The typical subspecies (Cupressus goveniana ssp. goveniana) has a bushy growth form and grows from 16.5 to 23 feet (5-7 m) tall [5,18,27]. Mendocino cypress has a single, slender trunk and sparse crown [18,27]. It grows from 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) tall on sterile soils and from 33 to 165 feet (10-50 m) tall on richer soils [5,18,27]. Mature leaves of both subspecies are 0.04 to 0.08 inches (1-2 mm) long, although they can be up to 0.4 inch (10 mm) long on vigorous shoots . Ovulate cones are solitary, up to 0.8 inch (20 mm) long. Staminate cones are 0.12 to 0.16 inch (3-4 mm) long [18,27]. The bark is smooth and fibrous, becoming rougher with age. It can be several centimeters thick [5,27]. The bark of Mendocino cypress occurs in strips, peeling easily after death of the tree, but otherwise intact . Gowen cypress forms a well-defined taproot and numerous laterals the first year [8,27]. The root systems of Gowen cypress are extensive and shallow, less than 1 foot (30 cm) deep .
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