This species is known from nine scattered sites in northern California and the extreme south of Oregon. Only one of them extends as far as two miles in length. Locations once known have been lost. In northern California C. bakeri occurs in Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Plumas and Tehama Counties; and in southwest Oregon it is very localized in Josephine and Jackson Counties. This includes locales in the Modoc Plateau, southern Cascade Range, Klamath Mountains, Siskiyou Mts. and northern Sierra Nevada.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Northern California and southern Oregon.
Regional Distribution in the Western United States
This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):
1 Northern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
Occurrence in North America
Baker cypress is restricted to northern California and southern Oregon.
Baker cypress occurs in Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties
in California [18,25]. Siskiyou cypress has disjunct populations in
the Siskiyou Mountains of Josephine County, Oregon, and on Goosenest
Mountain in Siskiyou County, California [18,29]. The Bureau of Land
Management administers the Baker Cypress Natural Area and Timbered
Crater Baker Cypress Natural Area, both in Siskiyou and Modoc counties,
Baker cypress is a native, evergreen tree with a single stem and narrow
crown . It grows from 33 to 99 feet (10-30 m) tall [10,31].
Juvenile leaves are from 0.08 to 0.4 inches (2-10 mm) long and may be
produced on seedlings for several years. They gradually give way to
mature leaves, which are 0.08 inches (2 mm) long. Ovulate cones occur
in clusters of 15 to 30 and are 0.8 to 1.6 inches (20-40 mm) in diameter
. Staminate cones are 0.08 to 0.12 inches (3-4 mm) long . The
bark of Baker cypress is partially exfoliating on the main trunk
[10,31]. A well-defined taproot and numerous lateral roots are formed
the first year .
Habitat and Ecology
Baker Cypress reproduces exclusively from seed. Cone production is abundant. Staminate cones are produced on trees that are 6 to 7 years old. Ovulate cones are produced on trees that are 14 years of age or older and require 2 years to mature. They contain from 50 to 100 seeds per cone. The cones are closed; they persist on the tree until opened by the heat of a fire or desiccation due to age. Seeds are shed gradually over several months after the cones are opened by heat. Detached cones will open, but they rarely result in seedling establishment, usually due to the lack of a suitable seedbed. Seed dispersal is primarily by wind and rain.
Baker Cypress requires bare mineral soil for germination and seedling establishment. Seedlings of Baker Cypress have been found in areas that do not show signs of recent fire, but the seedlings are usually in the immediate vicinity of fallen cypress trees and along skid roads. Seedling mortality is greater in shaded situations with abundant litter because of damping-off. Seedlings are sensitive to excessive moisture. Baker Cypress is restricted to well-drained soils. Soil profiles are almost absent. On gentle slopes trees can be found on deeper soil profiles.
Pollen is shed in late fall, winter, and spring. Seeds mature 15 to 18 months after pollination. Ovulate cones ripen the second season after pollination, but remain closed until opened by heat or age.
Baker Cypress is a fire-adapted, fire-dependent species. Reproduction is usually restricted to burned sites. The serotinous cones of Baker Cypress persist on the trees for years. Cone-opening is erratic, slow, and almost negligible except when cones are exposed to extreme heat; then it is rapid and uniform. When opened by the heat of a fire, the seeds fall on exposed mineral soil, and produce thickets of seedlings. Most seed falls in the first few months following fire. Fires that occur in late summer and fall, followed by winter rains, ensure seed dissemination on bare mineral substrates.
Baker Cypress has thin, exfoliating bark which offers little fire protection. Most fires probably kill Baker Cypress. Cones open as the resin melts and boils. Rapid charring of the thick cone scales extinguishes the flames, leaving seeds unburned.
Comments: Occurs on various types of basic igneous rock in the Sierra Nevada and in the Cascades and on serpentine soils in the Siskiyous. Elevational range is from 1050 to over 2000 m - extremely high for cypress. Stands are dependent on fire for their maintenance. The largest stand occurs on recent, dark-colored lava which has been broken into fissures, huge pits, depressions, and rock piles. Alluvial material in the depressions and loamy soil in the spaces between the broken lava provide a place for the trees to grow. Other occurrences consist of isolated clumps in fire-maintained brushfields of greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula) and in mixed-conifer and red fir forests.
Baker cypress is restricted to well-drained soils . It occurs as
disjunct stands and isolated groves in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade
Ranges, and the Siskiyou Mountains [21,29]. In the Siskiyou Mountains
Baker cypress occurs on serpentine soils; in the Sierra Nevada and
Cascade Range it occurs on basic volcanic rock. Soil profiles are
almost absent. On gentle slopes trees can be found on deeper soil
profiles; where Baker cypress is associated with red fir, a good humic
layer of dark brown soil exists .
Baker cypress is generally found at elevations from 3,795 to 7,042 feet
(1,150-2,134 m) on north- to northeast-facing slopes [5,29].
Key Plant Community Associations
Baker cypress is a component of the northern interior cypress forest.
This habitat type is an open, fire-maintained, scrubby forest similar to
the knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata) forest. It is associated with
serpentine chaparral, and intergrades on less severe sites with upper
Sonoran mixed chaparral, montane chaparral, or knobcone pine forest
community types. On more mesic sites, the northern interior cypress
forest intergrades with mixed evergreen forest or montane coniferous
forest . Baker cypress rarely forms pure stands . The Timbered
Crater grove is associated with yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa and P.
jeffreyi) forest and suggests a transition zone between several plant
communities, including northern juniper woodland, yellow pine forest,
and sagebrush scrub. High elevation groves of Baker cypress in Plumas
County, California, are associated with red fir (Abies magnifica)
Species not already mentioned that are commonly associated with Baker
cypress include sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), Brewer oak (Q. garryana
ssp. breweri), Sadler oak (Q. sadleriana), incense-cedar (Calocedrus
decurrens), Brewer spruce (Picea breweriana), Pacific yew (Taxus
brevifolia), juneberry (Amelanchier pallida), greenleaf manzanita
(Arctostaphylos patula), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata),
whitethorn ceanothus (Ceanothus cordulatus), wedgeleaf ceanothus (C.
cuneatus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus), Lemmon ceanothus (C. lemmonii),
squawcarpet (C. prostratus), snowbrush ceanothus (C. velutinus),
California redbud (Cercis occidentalis), birchleaf mountain-mahogany
(Cercocarpus betuloides), desertsweet (Chamaebatiaria millefolium), bush
chinquapin (Chrysolepsis sempervirens), low rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus
viscidiflorus), Fremont silktassel (Garrya fremontii), western juniper
(Juniperus occidentalis), bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata), Klamath
plum (P. subcordata), western chokecherry (P. virginiana var. demissa),
skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa)
creeping sage (Salvia sonomensis), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia
tridentata), gooseberry (Ribes spp.), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.),
honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), pussy paws (Calyptridium umbellatum),
larkspur (Delphinium spp.), bedstraw (Galium spp.), and goosefoot violet
(Viola purpurea) [2,5,11,27,29].
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
207 Red fir
211 White fir
218 Lodgepole pine
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
248 Knobcone pine
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
More info for the term: shrub
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K030 California oakwoods
K034 Montane chaparral
This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Comments: Mapped by Little as about ten small areas, some of which might contain more than one distinct element occurrence.
Fire Management Considerations
Fires occurring too frequently in cypress groves may destroy them, as
reproduction could be eliminated before it had a chance to produce
cones. Conversely, fire suppression could threaten the species.
Immediate Effect of Fire
protection . Most fires probably kill Baker cypress. Cones of the
California cypress open as the resin melts and boils. Rapid charring
of the thick cone scales extinguishes the flames, leaving seeds unburned
At the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in southern California on October
8, 1943, a severe fire killed all Siskiyou cypress trees. Some Baker
cypress were killed from the heat even though they were not burned .
Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
Crown residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)
Baker cypress is a fire-adapted, fire-dependent species. Reproduction
is usually restricted to burned sites . The serotinous cones of
Baker cypress persist on the trees for years. Cone-opening is erratic,
slow, and almost negligible except when cones are exposed to extreme
heat; then it is rapid and uniform . When opened by the heat of a
fire, the seeds fall on exposed mineral soil, and produce thickets of
seedlings [16,31]. Most seed falls in the first few months following
fire . Fires that occur in late summer and fall, followed by winter
rains, ensure seed dissemination on bare mineral substrates [27,29]. No
information was available on fire-free intervals for communities
dominated by Baker cypress. However, Tecate cypress (Hesperocyparis
forbesii), has an average interval between fires of 25
years, ranging from 15 to 63 years .
More info for the term: competition
Cypress seedlings are shade intolerant and survive best in full sunlight
on bare mineral soil . In the Mud Lake-Wheeler Peak area of Plumas
County, Baker cypress is being replaced by red and white (Abies
concolor) firs. Hundreds of saplings and pole-sized trees have died
with no indication of insects or disease. Competition of crowns for
light, shading of the ground, and accumulation of thick, black duff
characteristic of dense true fir stands have created an unfavorable
environment for the establishment and survival of Baker cypress .
According to Armstrong , cypresses of southern California are very
sensitive to lack of light, losing their foliage when growing in shade.
Baker cypress reproduces exclusively from seed. Cone production is
abundant. Staminate cones are produced on trees that are 6 to 7 years
old . Ovulate cones are produced on trees that are 14 years of age
or older and require 2 years to mature . They contain from 50 to 100
seeds per cone [1,31]. The cones are closed; they persist on the tree
until opened by the heat of a fire or desiccation due to age [12,29].
Seeds are shed gradually over several months after the cones are opened
by heat . Detached cones will open, but they rarely result in
seedling establishment, usually due to the lack of a suitable seedbed
. Seed dispersal is primarily by wind and rain .
Baker cypress requires bare mineral soil for germination and seedling
establishment. Seedlings of Baker cypress have been found in areas that
do not show signs of recent fire, but the seedlings area usually in the
immediate vicinity of fallen cypress trees and along skid roads .
Seedling mortality is greater in shaded situations with abundant litter
because of damping-off [1,29]. Seedlings are sensitive to excessive
Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
Life History and Behavior
Cypress (Hesperocyparis spp.) shed pollen in late fall, winter, and spring.
Seeds mature 15 to 18 months after pollination. Ovulate cones ripen the
second season after pollination, but remain closed until opened by heat
or age [12,31].
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Hesperocyparis bakeri
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hesperocyparis bakeri
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1998Vulnerable(Oldfield et al. 1998)
- 1997Vulnerable(Walter and Gillett 1998)
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: 12-15 scattered groves of this cypress are known, ranging from a few isolated trees to a population of thousands spread over several hundred hectares. The long-term viability of these occurrences is threatened by fire suppression.
Fire suppression policies have reduced numbers of Cupressus bakeri. A population on ‘the North fork of the South fork of Cow Creek’ (Sudworth 1908) was described in a letter from J. C. La Plant to Sudworth in 1908 but this population now seems to be extinct. The largest existing subpopulation sprawls over 2.8 km² of basalt near Timbered Crater. Most subpopulations are much smaller and also scattered, some are quite disjunct.
Seedlings of Baker Cypress are susceptible to damping-off fungi. Baker Cypress is occasionally attacked by Juniper Mistletoe (Phoradendron juniperinum ssp. juniperinum) in Plumas County, and Siskiyou Cypress (C. bakeri ssp. matthewsii) has been infected by Coryneum Canker (Coryneum cardinale), which can kill trees.
California as specimen trees, but are not feasible for windbreaks or
erosion control because of slow growth .
Seedlings of Baker cypress are susceptible to damping-off fungi .
Baker cypress is occasionally attacked by juniper
mistletoe (Phoradendron juniperinum ssp. juniperinum) in Plumas County,
and Siskiyou cypress has been infected by
coryneum canker (Coryneum cardinale), which can kill trees .
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Cupressus bakeri grows in a restricted area of Northern California: in Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Plumas and Tehama Counties; and in southwest Oregon: very localized in Josephine and Jackson Counties. 
It is usually found in small, scattered populations, not in large forests, at altitudes of 900–2,000 metres (3,000–6,600 ft). This includes locales in the Modoc Plateau, southern Cascade Range, Klamath Mountains, and northern Sierra Nevada.  It is slow-growing in the wild, and is mostly restricted to sites difficult for plant growth, on serpentine soils and on old lava flows. Its tolerance of these sites enables it to avoid competition from much faster-growing trees.
Cupressus bakeri is a medium-sized evergreen tree with a conic crown, growing to heights of 10-25 m (exceptionally to 39 m), and a trunk diameter of up to 0.5 m (exceptionally to 1 m). The foliage grows in sparse, very fragrant, usually pendulous sprays, varying from dull gray-green to glaucous blue-green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2-5 mm long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. 
The seed cones are globose to oblong, covered in warty resin glands, 10-25 mm long, with 6 or 8 (rarely 4 or 10) scales, green to brown at first, maturing gray or gray-brown about 20–24 months after pollination. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and release pollen in February-March. 
- http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CUBA&mapType=nativity&photoID=cuba_001_avp.tif USDA
- http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_cpn.pl?21396 Jepson
- http://www.pinetum.org/PhotoJEFFbakeri.htm pinetum.org: Photos, trees
- http://www.pinetum.org/cones/CUbakeri.jpg pinetum.org: Photos, cones
- Conifer Specialist Group (2000). Cupressus bakeri. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2006. - Listed as Vulnerable (VU B1+2bcd v2.3)
Names and Taxonomy
Cupressus bakeri Jeps. [10,19,36]
Cupressus bakeri subsp. bakeri Jeps., Baker or Modoc cypress
Cupressus bakeri subsp. matthewsii Wolf, Siskiyou cypress [10,19,25]
Neocupressus bakeri (Jeps.) de Laub. 
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