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Overview

Brief Summary

Cupressus nootkatensis

Cupressus nootkatensis D.Don (Nootka Cypress; syn. Callitropsis nootkatensis (D.Don) Florin, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Farjon & Harder, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Spach), is a cypress (Cupressaceae) species native to western North America.

Taxonomy
It has a complex taxonomic and nomenclatural history. It was first described in the genus Cupressus as Cupressus nootkatensis by David Don in 1824, but in 1841 it was transferred to Chamaecyparis by Édouard Spach on the basis of its foliage being in flattened sprays (as in other Chamaecyparis, but unlike most, though not all, other Cupressus species). This treatment was almost universally used through the 20th century. However, this does not fit with the morphology and phenology of the cones, which are far more like Cupressus, like them maturing in their second year, not in their first (Frankis 1993) and it can also be grafted onto rootstocks of other Cupressus but not onto other Chamaecyparis (Welch 1991). Subsequent genetic (Gadek et al. 2000) and micromorphological (Jägel & Stützel 2001) evidence also strongly supported its return to Cupressus and exclusion from Chamaecyparis.

More recently, Farjon et al. (2002) transferred it to a new genus Xanthocyparis, together with the newly discovered Xanthocyparis vietnamensis (Cupressus vietnamensis); this species is similar to Nootka Cypress in many ways, in that while they are not related to Chamaecyparis, they differ from other Cupressus in usually having just four cone scales, not six or more as usual in other Cupressus. Little et al. (2004, 2006) pointed out that an earlier nomenclatural combination in the genus Callitropsis existed, as Callitropsis nootkatensis (D.Don) Oerst., published in 1864 but overlooked by other subsequent authors. Little et al. therefore synonymised Xanthocyparis with Callitropsis, the correct name for these species under the ICBN when treated in a distinct genus. Little further pointed out that the other species of Cupressus native to North America are more closely related to Nootka Cypress than they are to Cupressus sempervirens (the type species of Cupressus) and other Old World Cupressus species. He therefore transferred all of the American Cupressus species to Callitropsis.

However, other botanists (Xiang & Li 2005, Rushforth 2007) pointed out that the separation of Callitropsis (or Xanthocyparis) from Cupressus is uncertain on this evidence, and that the species of Callitropsis are best retained in Cupressus unless further genetic evidence for splitting Cupressus could be found. This has now been confirmed by DNA studies by Mu et al. (2006), which placed Nootka Cypress in the middle of several Chinese Cupressus, closest to Cupressus funebris and Cupressus duclouxiana, and by Mao et al. (2010), which placed it within Cupressus as sister to all the American Cupressus species. The cones having just four scales is also not conclusive, with several other Cupressus species (C. bakeri, C. glabra, C. lusitanica) occasionally having four-scaled cones. Treatment in Cupressus is accepted and recommended by the Cupressus Conservation Project and the Gymnosperm Database.

Morphology
Nootka Cypress is an evergreen tree to 40 m tall and a trunk up to 1 m diameter (exceptionally to 60 m tall and 4 m diameter), with stringy grey-brown to purple-brown bark. The crown is conic-columnar, with horizontal or pendulous branches, and more strictly pendulous branchlets. The foliage is in flat sprays, with dark green scale-leaves 3-5 mm long; when crushed, they have a strong sour-resinous odour. The seed cones have four (occasionally six) scales, most closely resembling the cones of Cupressus lusitanica, except being somewhat smaller, typically 10-14 mm diameter. Each scale has a pointed triangular bract about 1.5-2 mm long, similar to other Cupressus and unlike the crescent-shaped, non-pointed bract on the scales of Chamaecyparis cones (Frankis, 1993). Pollination is in early spring, with the mature cones opening to release the seeds 16-20 months later. Growth is slow, and the trees can be very long-lived, with ages of over 1,600 years reported (Brown 1996).

Origin
Nootka Cypress is native to the west coast of North America, from the Prince William Sound area in Alaska, south to northwesternmost California, typically occurring on wet sites in mountains, often close to the tree line, but sometimes also at lower altitudes. It derives its name from its discovery at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Cultivation
Nootka Cypress is a popular ornamental tree in gardens, grown for its elegant weeping foliage. Several cultivars have been named. Inertia and conservatism in the horticultural and forestry industries (both notoriously slow to adopt the results of botanical research) mean the name Chamaecyparis nootkatensis is likely to continue being listed in these situations for a long time yet. It is also sometimes called Yellow Cypress, and sometimes wrongly called a cedar (Cedrus), due to confusion by early European settlers of its scented wood with the unrelated but somewhat similarly scented wood of cedars; this misapplication should be avoided (Kelsey & Dayton 1942).

Nootka Cypress is one of the parents of the very popular garden hybrid Leyland Cypress Cupressus × leylandii (syn. × Cupressocyparis leylandii, × Cuprocyparis leylandii); the other parent being Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress).
  • * Brown, P. M. (1996). OLDLIST: A database of maximum tree ages. Pp. 727-731 in Dean, J.S., D.M. Meko and T.W. Swetnam, eds., Tree rings, environment, and humanity. Radiocarbon 1996, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson.
  • * Cupressus Conservation Project http://www.cupressus.net
  • * Farjon, A., Hiep, N. T., Harder, D. K., Loc, P. K., & Averyanov, L. 2002. A new genus and species in the Cupressaceae (Coniferales) from northern Vietnam, Xanthocyparis vietnamensis. Novon 12: 179–189.
  • * Frankis, M. P. (1993). Nootka Cypress : Chamaecyparis or Cupressus? Conifer Society of Australia Newsletter 12: 9-10.
  • * Gadek, P. A., Alpers, D. L., Heslewood, M. M., & Quinn, C. J. 2000. Relationships within Cupressaceae sensu lato: a combined morphological and molecular approach. American Journal of Botany 87: 1044–1057.
  • * Gymnosperm Database http://www.conifers.org/cu/Cupressus_nootkatensis.php
  • * Jagel, A., & Stuetzel, T. (2001). Zur Abgrenzung von Chamaecyparis Spach und Cupressus L. (Cupressaceae) und die systematische Stellung von Cupressus nootkatensis D.Don [=Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Spach]. Feddes Repertorium 112 (1-4): 179-229.
  • * Kelsey, H. P., & Dayton, W. A. (1942). Standardized Plant Names, second edition. American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature. Horace McFarland Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • * Little, D. P. (2006). Evolution and circumscription of the true Cypresses. Systematic Botany 31 (3): 461-480.
  • * Little, D. P., Schwarzbach, A. E., Adams, R. P. & Hsieh, Chang-Fu. 2004. The circumscription and phylogenetic relationships of Callitropsis and the newly described genus Xanthocyparis (Cupressaceae). American Journal of Botany 91 (11): 1872–1881.
  • * Mao, K., Hao, G., Liu, J, Adams, R. P., & Milne, R. I. (2010). Diversification and biogeography of Juniperus (Cupressaceae): variable diversification rates and multiple intercontinental dispersals. New Phytologist 188 (1): 254-272.
  • * Mu, L., Wang, L., Yao, L., Hao, B, & Luo, Q. (2006). Application of pet G-trn P sequence to systematic study of Chinese Cupressus species. Frontiers of Biology in China 4: 349-352.
  • * Rushforth, K. (2007). Notes on the Cupressaceae in Vietnam. Vietnamese Journal of Biology. 29 (3): 32-39.
  • * Welch, H. J. (1991). The Conifer Manual, Vol. 1. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.
  • * Xiang, Q., & Li, J. (2005). Derivation of Xanthocyparis and Juniperus from within Cupressus: Evidence from Sequences of nrDNA Internal Transcribed Spacer Region. Harvard Papers in Botany 9 (2): 375-382.
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Cupressaceae -- Cypress family

    A. S. Harris

    Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), also known as Alaska  yellow-cedar, yellow-cedar, Alaska cypress, and Nootka cypress, is an  important timber species of northwestern America. It is found along the  Pacific coast in Alaska and British Columbia, in the Cascade Range of  Oregon and Washington, and at a number of isolated locations (1,10). It is  confined to a cool, humid climate. Toward the south, Alaska-cedar rarely  grows below 600 m (2,000 ft) in elevation; but north of midcoastal  British Columbia, it grows from sea level to tree line. It is one of the  slowest growing conifers in the Northwest. The wood is extremely durable  and is excellent for specialty uses. Little effort is being made to manage  the species to assure a continuing supply.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Southcentral Alaska to California.

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Occurrence in North America

     AK  CA  OR  WA  BC

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Alaska-cedar is found in the Pacific Coast mountain ranges from
south-central Alaska to southwestern Oregon with isolated groves in the
Siskiyou Mountains of northern California [1,23,24].  The eastern edge of
Alaska-cedar's range is defined by two disjunct populations:  one in the
Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia [33] and one in the
Aldrich Mountains of central Oregon [1].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 33.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

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
    2  Cascade Mountains
    4  Sierra Mountains

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Alaska-cedar grows from northern California to Prince William Sound, AK  Except for a few isolated stands, it is found within 160 km (100 miles) of  the Pacific coast. Isolated stands in the Siskiyou Mountains, CA, near the  Oregon border mark its southern limit (2). In Oregon and Washington,  Alaska-cedar grows in the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains; scattered  populations are found in the Coast Ranges and in the Aldrich Mountains of  central Oregon (8). In British Columbia and north to Wells Bay in Prince  William Sound, AK, it grows in a narrow strip on the islands and coastal  mainland. An exception in British Columbia is an isolated stand near  Slocan Lake about 720 km (450 mi) inland.

     
- The native range of Alaska-cedar.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

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B.C.; Alaska, Calif., Oreg., Wash.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: layering, monoecious, shrub, tree

Alaska-cedar is a native, evergreen, long-lived (as long as 3,500 years
[16]), monoecious tree [1,24].  It is slow growing with a narrow crown;
the twigs are four-angled [56].  The boles of mature trees have
buttressed and fluted bases, and the bark is shreddy [33].

Alaska-cedar is a medium-sized tree, although at treeline it is reduced
to a shrub.  It can obtain heights of 100 to 125 feet (30-38 m) with a
d.b.h. as great as 12 feet (3.7 m) [24].  The root system is shallow
with complex layering [24].  The leaves are scalelike and roughly 0.125
inch (0.32 cm) in length [1,46].  The stroboli are borne on the tips of
branchlets.  The male strobili are yellow.  The female strobili are
green, spherical, and 0.5 inch (1 cm) in diameter [23].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]
  • 16.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Hemstrom, Miles A. 1981. Aspects of succession in        the coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. In: Forest succession:        concepts and application. New York: Springer-Verlag: 212-229.  [7931]
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 33.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 46.  Preston, Richard J., Jr. 1948. North American trees. Ames, IA: The Iowa        State College Press. 371 p.  [1913]
  • 56.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]

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Physical Description

Tree, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Tree with bark rough or scaly, Young shoots in flat sprays, Buds not resinous, Leaves scale-like, Leaves opposite, Non-needle-like leaf margins entire, Leaf apex acute, Leaf apex obtuse, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves not blue-green, Scale leaves without raised glands, Scale leaf glands not ruptured, Scale leaves overlapping, Twigs glabrous, Twigs not viscid, Twigs without peg-like projections or large fascicles after needles fall, Berry-like cones orange, Woody seed cones < 5 cm long, Bracts of seed cone included, Seeds red, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds equally winged, Seed wings narrower than body.
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Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Trees to 40 m or dwarfed at high elevations; trunk to 2 m diam. Bark grayish brown, 1--2 cm thick, irregularly fissured. Branchlet sprays pinnate. Leaves of branchlets mostly 1.5--2.5 mm, stout, occasionally glandular on keel, apex rounded to acute or acuminate, bases of facial leaves often overlapped by apices of subtending facial leaves; glands usually absent (circular when present). Pollen cones 2--5 mm, grayish brown; pollen sacs yellow. Seed cones maturing and opening the first year, in some populations the second year (J. N. Owens and M. Molder 1975), 8--12 mm broad, glaucous, dark reddish brown, becoming resinous; scales 4--6. Seeds 2--4 per scale, 2--5 mm, wing equal to or broader than body.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cupressus nootkatensis D. Don in Lambert, Descr. Pinus 2: 113. 1824
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Occurring across a vast latitudinal range, this species is associated with different conifers from north to south and also along its altitudinal gradient (1-2,300 m a.s.l.). Common in Alaska are Picea sitchensis and, at higher altitudes, Pinus contorta and Tsuga mertensiana; in British Columbia Abies amabilis, P. contorta, P. monticola, Thuja plicata and Tsuga heterophylla and again at higher altitudes T. mertensiana; in the Cascades at lower altitudes Abies amabilis and A. procera, at higher altitudes A. lasiocarpa, P. albicaulis and T. mertensiana; and in its southernmost outlier the Siskiyou Mountains it is associated with A. magnifica, Calocedrus decurrens and Picea breweriana. A shrub-layer, in which ericaceous species often dominate, is usually well developed. Characteristic are stands, sometimes pure, or with P. contorta or T. mertensiana, forming a forest ecotone around bogs or near the tree line, with scrubby growth forms predominant on organic soils (derived from peat) in both habitats. As with all conifers in these forests, competition on better sites favours faster and taller growing species, which means X. nootkatensis is not codominant there and gets eventually pushed out to sites with shallow soils or nutrient deficient soils. However, it is also in much of its range probably the longest-lived conifer, with ages well over 1,500 years verified and in excess of 2,000 years, and probably even up to 3,500 years (trees of this inferred age are found to be hollow). It could therefore well exhibit a strategy tied in with episodic disturbance events in which certain individuals outlive all competitors and only regenerate after this rare event. The climate, especially in the very maritime near coastal strip and on ocean-facing slopes and islands, is cool and very wet

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Coastal forests.

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Habitat characteristics

Alaska-cedar occurs in hypermaritime to submaritime, subalpine, boreal,
and summer-wet, cool mesothermal climates [39].  It occurs from
shoreline to treeline in the northern portion of its range but is
restricted to higher elevations in the southern portion [24].

Elevation:  Elevational ranges for Alaska-cedar in several western
states are as follows [24,49]:

                        Feet                    Meters
Alaska                  0 to 3,000              0 - 910
Washington and Oregon    2,000 to 7,500          600 - 2300
California              4,950 to 7,260          1,500 - 2,200

Soil:  Alaska-cedar has a strong affinity for deep, well-drained soils
rich in calcium and magnesium, and derived from parent materials of
andesite, diorite, gabbro, or basalt (Histosol and Spodosol soil orders)
[24].  It also can be found on the poor, rocky soils of the alpine
environment far above the limits of other conifers [1].

Associates:  In addition to those previously listed under Distribution
and Occurrence, Alaska-cedar's overstory associates include California
red fir (Abies magnifica), subalpine fir (A. lasiocarpa), Pacific silver
fir (A. anabilis), noble fir (A. procera), Brewer spruce (Picea
breweriana), whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), shore pine (P.
contorta), incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens), and Pacific yew (Taxus
brevifolia) [24].

Understory associates include big huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum),
Alaska blueberry (V. alaskaense), fool's huckleberry (Menziesia
ferruginea), and copperbush (Cladathamnus pyroliflorus) [24].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 39.  Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator        plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British        Columbia Press. 288 p.  [10703]
  • 49.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, codominant

Alaska-cedar is listed as a dominant or codominant overstory species in
the following publications:

A preliminary classification system for vegetation of Alaska [55].
The forest communities of Mount Rainer National Park [17].
A preliminary classification of forest communities in the central
  portion of the western Cascades in Oregon [9].
Preliminary plant associations of the southern Cascade Mountain Province [2].
Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province [3].
Vegetation and the environment in old growth forests of northern
  southeast Alaska:  A plant association classification [44].
  • 17.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Moir, William H.; Hemstrom, Miles A.; [and others]
  • 2.  Atzet, Thomas; McCrimmon, Lisa A. 1990. Preliminary plant associations        of the southern Oregon Cascade Mountain Province. Grants Pass, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest. 330        p.  [12977]
  • 3.  Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of        the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p.  [9351]
  • 44.  Martin, Jon Randall. 1989. Vegetation and environment in old growth        forests of northern southeast, Alaska: a plant association        classification. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 221 p. Thesis.        [18760]
  • 55.  Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T.; Batten, A. R.; Wenzlick, K. J. 1992. The        Alaska vegetation classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-286. Portland,        OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest        Research Station. 278 p.  [2431]
  • 9.  Dyrness, C. T.; Franklin, J. F.; Moir, W. H. 1974. A preliminary        classification of forest communities in the central portion of the        western Cascades in Oregon. Bulletin No. 4. Seattle, WA: University of        Washington, Ecosystem Analysis Studies, Coniferous Forest Biome. 123 p.        [8480]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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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):

   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

   205  Mountain hemlock
   215  Western white pine
   223  Sitka spruce
   224  Western hemlock
   225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce
   226  Coastal true fir - hemlock
   227  Western redcedar - western hemlock
   228  Western redcedar
   229  Pacific Douglas-fir

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
   K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
   K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K004  Fir - hemlock forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest

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Soils and Topography

Alaska-cedar grows most commonly on Histosols and Spodosols. Best growth  and development are on slopes with deep, well-drained soils. It is seldom  found on the better sites, however, because of competition from faster  growing associates. More frequently, it is found on thin organic soils  over bedrock and is able to survive and grow on soils that are deficient  in nutrients. It grows well on soils rich in calcium and magnesium and  frequently on Lithosols developed from andesite, diorite, gabbro, or  basaltic rocks (18). It is a common component of "scrub" stands  on organic soils at low elevations in Alaska, and on organic subalpine  soils. At high elevations and on half-bog sites, it often develops a  shrublike or prostrate form.

    Alaska-cedar grows at elevations from 600 to 2300 m (2,000 to 7,500 ft)  in the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington and occasionally down to sea  level on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and the west coast of  Vancouver Island. In Oregon, most Alaska-cedar grows on ridges and peaks  from 1500 to 1700 m (5,000 to 5,600 ft) high in the western Cascades  between the Clackamas and McKenzie rivers, but it can grow throughout much  of the moisture conditions present at high elevations in the Cascade Range  from central Oregon north (2). On the southern British Columbia mainland,  it usually grows between 600 and 1500 m (2,000 and 5,000 ft) but is found  at lower elevations northward until it reaches sea level at Knight Inlet.  From there, north and west to Prince William Sound in Alaska, it is found  from sea level to tree line, up to 900 m (3,000 ft) in southeast Alaska  and 300 m (1,000 ft) around Prince William Sound.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

Alaska-cedar is notable within the cypress family for its tolerance of  cool and wet conditions. The climate of its natural range is cool and  humid. Climatic conditions at elevations where Alaska-cedar grows in the  Cascade Range of Washington are somewhat comparable to those at sea level  in coastal Alaska (table 1). Growing seasons are short.

    Table 1- Climate in the range of Alaska-cedar¹              Average Annual                 
Location   
Elevation  Temper- 
ature  Precipi- 
tation   
Snowfall  Frost-free period              m  °C  mm  cm  days      Washington²  1206  4  2340  1140  114      Alaska:                   Sitka        4  7  2130  114  149         Cordova      12  5  2260  340  111                        ft  °F  in  in  days      Washington²  3,958  39  92  450  114      Alaska:                   Sitka       13  45  84    45  149         Cordva       39  41  89  134  111      ¹Compiled from  U.S. Weather Service records. 
²Stampede Pass near Mount Rainier.
  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Coastal mountain ranges; 0--1500m.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Associations

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Leucopaxillus rhodoleucus is associated with Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Foodplant / feeds on
Trisetacus chamaecypari feeds on cone of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

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Associated Forest Cover

Alaska-cedar occasionally grows in pure stands but is usually found  singly or in scattered groups mixed with other tree species. Associated  species change with latitude. In California, Alaska-cedar may be found  with California red fir (Abies magnifica), Brewer spruce (Picea  breweriana), incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens), Pacific yew  (Taxus brevifolia), and western white pine (Pinus monticola);  in Oregon and Washington, with mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana),  subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), whitebark pine (Pinus  albicaulis), Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis), noble fir  (Abies procera), western white pine, and western hemlock (Tsuga  heterophylla); in British Columbia, with Pacific silver fir, western  white pine, western redcedar (Thuja plicata), mountain hemlock,  western hemlock, and shore pine (Pinus contorta); in Alaska, with  western redcedar, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, Sitka spruce (Picea  sitchensis), and shore pine.

    Alaska-cedar is a component of the following Society of American  Foresters forest cover types (5):

    205 Mountain Hemlock 
223 Sitka Spruce 
224 Western Hemlock 
225 Western Hemlock-Sitka Spruce 
226 Coastal True Fir-Hemlock 
227 Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock 
228 Western Redcedar

    Shrubs commonly associated with Alaska-cedar in Oregon, Washington, and  British Columbia are: big whortleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum),  ovalleaf whortleberry (V. ovalifolium), Alaska blueberry (V.  alaskaense), rustyleaf menziesia (Menziesia ferruginea), Cascades  azalea (Rhododendron albiflorum), and copperbush (Cladothamnus  pyroliflorus). These shrubs, except Rhododendron albiflorum and  Vaccinium membranaceum, are associates in Alaska as well. Other  plant associates include fiveleaf bramble (Rubus pedatus), bunchberry  (Cornus canadensis), queenscup (Clintonia uniflora), ferny  goldthread (Coptis asplenifolia), deerfern (Blechnum spicant),  claspleaf twistedstalk (Streptopus amplexifolius), rosy  twistedstalk (S. roseus), and skunkcabbage (Lysichitum  americanum).

    Recognized vegetative communities from British Columbia south are Chamaecyparis  nootkatensis/Lysichitum americanum and Chamaecyparis  nootkatensis/Rhododendron albiflorum (7). In southeast Alaska, a  common association in the open conifer forest surrounding bogs is Pinus  contorta-Tsuga heterophylla-Thuja plicata-Chamaecyparis  nootkatensis/Vaccinium ovalifolium-V. alaskaense-Ledum  groenlandicum/Sphagnum squarrosum (25).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Alaska-cedar is relatively free from damage by  insects. No infestations of defoliating insects are known (1). Both Phloeosinus  sp. and the bark-boring, round-headed beetles of the genus Atimia  are often found under the bark of dead, dying, or weakened trees and  occasionally on healthy trees (9). Phloeosinus cupressi is a  secondary agent that only attacks trees in advanced stages of decline  (14). A total of 78 taxa of fungi have been reported on Alaska-cedar  throughout its range, including 50 in Alaska (14). The wood, however, is  very durable and resistant to fungal attack, partly because of naturally  occurring chemicals-nootkatin, chamic acid, and chaminic acid-in the  heartwood that inhibit fungal growth at low concentrations (4). Certain "black-stain"  fungi are capable of degrading nootkatin, thereby increasing the  susceptibility of the heartwood to decay (24). Living trees often attain  great age, and over time heart-rotting fungi cause considerable loss and  defect in standing trees (15).

    Since at least 1880, Alaska-cedar has suffered advancing decline and  mortality on more than 100 000 ha (247,000 acres) of bog and semibog land  in southeast Alaska. Abiotic factors appear to be responsible, but the  primary cause remains unknown (14).

    In southeast Alaska, brown bears (Ursa arctos) frequently cause  basal scarring by biting and stripping bark. Scarring is most common on  well drained sites. This wounding results in fungal attack, which in time  reduces volume and value of butt logs (14).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Fire Management Implications

More info for the term: fuel

This study revealed that western hemlock/western redcedar/Alaska-cedar
forests produce greater nutrient losses to the atmosphere when the slash
composition has a greater proportion of Alaska-cedar and western
redcedar.  One can expect smaller nutrient losses when western hemlock
makes up the majority of the slash.

Nutrient losses can be limited if the the forest floor and larger fuels
are moist when burned.  This limits fuel consumption.  Also nutrient
loss can be reduced by more complete utilization during harvest, thus
reducing the slash load.

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Site Description

More info for the terms: fuel, fuel loading

The study site was on a gentle, easterly slope at an elevation of 500 m
(1,650 ft).  The climate of the area is marine, warm-temperate, rainy.
The mean annual precipitation is from 87 to 138 inches (220-350 cm),
which is received mainly in the form of rain.  The soil over most of the
area was a Typic Haplorthod with a mor forest floor with a mean depth of
10 inches (26 cm).

The area had been logged during a snow-free period using a high lead
harvesting system.  After clearcutting the slash was sorted by species*
into five diameter classes:

                (1)  < 1 cm
                (2)  1.1-3.0 cm
                (3)  3.1-5.0 cm
                (4)  5.1-7.0 cm
                (5)  > 7 cm

*Alaska-cedar and western redcedar were combined and shall be henceforth
referred to as cedar.

The area was then divided into 50 2.25-square-meter plots that were
greater than 0.5 meter apart.  These were slpit into 10 groups of 5
plots; within each group the plots were randomly assigned a species.
Western hemlock slash had three fuel loadings (4.4, 9.9, 17.7 kg/m2)
while cedar and Douglas-fir had one fuel loading (9.9 kg/m2).  Each plot
received all size classes of slash.  Ten samples of slash were oven
dried and used to determine prefire chemical and percent composition.

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Season/Severity Classification

More info for the terms: fuel, fuel moisture

The plots were burned on 10 different days in July, August, and
September 1984 to incorporate a range of fuel moisture conditions.

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: competition

The burning of slash is controversial.  Fyles and others [18] recommend
the burning of slash to improve access for planters, increase plantable
sites, reduce brush competition, and reduce fire hazard; however, there
is little information about the effects of slash burning on Alaska-cedar
[12,38].  Feller [13] gives information on the effects of slashburning
on nutrient loss (see Fire Case Study).

After fire in the subalpine environment Alaska-cedar is slow to
regenerate in the krummholz zone [8].
  • 12.  Feller, M. C. 1982. The ecological effects of slashburning with        particular reference to British Columbia: a literature review. Victoria,        BC: Ministry of Forests. 60 p.  [10470]
  • 13.  Feller, M. C. 1988. Relationships between fuel properties and        slashburning induced nutrient losses. Forest Science. 34(4): 998-1015.        [3752]
  • 18.  Fyles, J. W.; Fyles, I. H.; Beese, W. J.; Feller, M. C. 1991. Forest        floor characteristics and soil nitrogen availability on slash- burned        sites in coastal British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Forest Research.        21: 1516-1522.  [18312]
  • 38.  Klinka, K.; Green, R. N.; Courtin, P. J.; Nuszdorfer, F. C. 1984. Site        diagnosis, tree species selection, and slashburning guidelines for the        Vancouver Forest Region, British Columbia. Land Management Report No.        25. Victoria, BC: Ministry of Forests, Information Services Branch. 180        p.  [15448]
  • 8.  Douglas, George W.; Ballard, T. M. 1971. Effects of fire on alpine plant        communities in the North Cascades, Washington. Ecology. 52(6):        1058-1064.  [6738]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

More info for the term: resistance

Fire resistance is rated as low for Alaska-cedar [49], although a few
individuals will survive a cool fire [7,25].
  • 25.  Hemstrom, Miles A.; Franklin, Jerry F. 1982. Fire and other disturbances        of the forests in Mount Rainier National Park. Quaternary Research. 18:        32-51.  [6747]
  • 49.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]
  • 7.  Dale, Virginia H.; Hemstrom, Miles A.; Franklin, Jerry F. 1984. The        effect of disturbance frequency on forest succession in the Pacific        Northwest. In: New forests for a changing world: Proceedings of the 1983        convention of The Society of American Foresters; 1983 October 16-20;        Portland, OR. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 300-304.        [4781]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: tree

The immediate effect of a cool to hot fire on Alaska-cedar is damage to
the cambium layer, usually resulting in the death of the tree [1].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: secondary colonizer, tree

   Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
   Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: fire regime

Fire is not an important factor in Alaska-cedar's cool, wet habitats.
Alaska-cedar's bark is thin and offers little protection from fire [1].
The fire regime of Alaska-cedar's habitats is one of long-interval (150
to 350+ years) severe crown or surface fires resulting in stand
replacement [44].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]
  • 44.  Martin, Jon Randall. 1989. Vegetation and environment in old growth        forests of northern southeast, Alaska: a plant association        classification. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 221 p. Thesis.        [18760]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, layering

Depending on the site, Alaska-cedar can be a long-lived seral species or
a climax species [14,16].  In the subalpine environment it is the first
tree species to become established, later forming large krummholz stands
from layering [15].  Alaska-cedar is classified as shade tolerant; it
will respond to 10 percent of full light and reach photosynthetic
saturation at 60 percent [20].
  • 14.  Franklin, Jerry Forest. 1966. Vegetation and soils in the subalpine        forests of the southern Washington Cascade Range. Pullman, WA:        Washington State University. 132 p. Thesis.  [10392]
  • 15.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon        and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 417 p.  [961]
  • 16.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Hemstrom, Miles A. 1981. Aspects of succession in        the coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. In: Forest succession:        concepts and application. New York: Springer-Verlag: 212-229.  [7931]
  • 20.  Grossnickle, Steve C.; Russell, John H. 1991. Gas exchange processes of        yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) in response to environmental        variables. Canadian Journal of Botany. 69: 2684-2691.  [18343]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: epigeal, frequency, layering, tree

Sexual:  The frequency of good seed crops is irregular (4 or more years)
[59], and germination rates are low [35].  A germination rate of around
12 percent can be obtained with a warm stratification (30 days at 68 to
86 degrees Fahrenheit [20-30 deg C]) followed by a moist stratification
(30 days at 40 degrees Fahrenheit [4 deg C]).  A tetrazolium stain has
been recommended for a test of seed viability [23].  The seed are quite
small with an average of 108,000 seeds per pound (240,000 seeds/kg)
[23,24].  The seed can be stored dry at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 deg C)
for 3 to 5 years [59].  Bower and others [5] recommend foliar
application of gibberellin A3 to increase flowering and filled seed.
From the parent tree the mean dissemination distance is about 400 feet
(120 m) [24].  Germination is epigeal [24], and mineral soil or well
decomposed organic matter are the preferred germination substrates [37].

Vegetative:  Alaska-cedar reproduces asexually by layering.  It layers
readily under the deep, heavy coastal snowpacks [49].  Vegetative
reproduction is the method of choice to meet the demands for
containerized stock, due to the low germination rate and infrequent good
seed crops [35].  Cuttings, treated with indolebutyric acid and potted
in the greenhouse, were ready for planting in 1 year [24].  Clones have
advantages over seedlings such as fewer multiple leaders and uniformity
in size [35].  Karlsson [34] and Karlsson and Russell [35] provide
in-depth information on age of the donor, clone survival, establishment,
and planting guidelines.

Preliminary results indicate that there is genetic variation between
provenances for shoot growth; however, further testing is needed to
establish transfer zones [6].
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 34.  Karlsson, Ingemar. 1982. Propagation of Alaska yellow cedar        (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis [D. Don]
  • 35.  Karlsson, Ingemar; Russell, John. 1990. Comparisons of yellow cypress        trees of seedling and rooted cutting origins after 9 and 11 years in the        field. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 20: 37-41.  [11041]
  • 37.  Klinka, K.; Feller, M. C.; Green, R. N.; [and others]
  • 49.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]
  • 5.  Bower, R. C.; Ross, S. D.; Dunsworth, B. G. 1989. Effect of GA3        treatment timing in relation to natural day length on flowering and sex        expression in Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. Canadian Journal of Forest        Research. 19: 1422-1428.  [10044]
  • 59.  Wang, B. S. P. 1974. Tree-seed storage. Publication No. 1335. Ottawa,        Canada: Department of the Environment, Canadian Forestry Service. 32 p.        [17267]
  • 6.  Cherry, M. L.; Lester, D. T. 1992. Genetic variation in Chamaecyparis        nootkatensis from coastal British Columbia. Western Journal of Applied        Forestry. 7(1): 25-29.  [18313]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: chamaephyte, phanerophyte

   Ligneous Chamaephyte
   Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Plant Response to Fire

Alaska-cedar will invade a burned site via wind-dispersed seed from
adjacent unburned forests [24].
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]

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Reaction to Competition

Alaska-cedar is considered tolerant of  shade in the southern part of its range but less tolerant toward the  north. Overall, it is classed as shade tolerant. South of Mt. Rainier, WA,  Alaska-cedar establishes some seedlings and is shade tolerant enough to  survive under moderately dense canopies, but forest-grown seedlings fail  to develop a strong upright trunk. Most trees on forest sites appear to  have been established after disturbance (2). In Alaska, young stands are   often even aged, and mixed or nearly pure stands of Alaska-cedar rarely  contain seedlings or saplings in the understory. Reproduction of western  hemlock is abundant, however, indicating that Alaska-cedar is less  tolerant than hemlock (1).

    Most Alaska-cedar timber has come from logging mixed old-growth stands  in which the species is a minor component. Because of its slow rate of  growth in relation to other commercial species, there has been little  interest in management of Alaska-cedar for timber on the more productive  sites. It may be well suited for planting on cold, wet sites, however,  especially at high elevations where other species are less likely to  thrive. It survives heavy snow loads because of its narrow, flexible crown  and drooping branches, and its flexibility allows it to survive on  avalanche tracks. Interest in management of Alaska-cedar is relatively  new, and information on growth and yield of young stands is not available.  Volume tables are available for old-growth trees (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Rooting Habit

In bogs, roots of prostrate clumps of  Alaska-cedar often tend to be shallow and to develop in complex patterns  associated with a long history of branch layering (14). Root systems of  krummholz Alaska-cedar-apparently the result of root sprouting and  layering-have been observed to extend 100 feet (3). Understory trees have  shown adventitious rooting the year after partial burial by volcanic  tephra (26). Information is not available on the rooting habit of mature  trees on well drained sites.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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A. S. Harris

Source: Silvics of North America

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Flowering of Alaska-cedar occurs progressively earlier in the spring as
elevation decreases, suggesting that bud development is based on heat
sums [5].  Alaska-cedar flowers from April to June depending on latitude
and elevation [24].  The cones of trees in the southern portion of its
range mature from September to October, and dispersal begins in October
and lasts through spring.  In the northern portion of its range and in
alpine environments, maturation of the cones is also based on heat sums,
with 2- and 3-year reproductive cycles, respectively, being the norm
[10].  In the northern portion of its range pollination of cones
initiated the previous summer occurs from mid-April to late May; cones
mature the following year [24].  The mature cones can be identified by
their yellow-brown color [23].
  • 10.  El-Kassaby, Y. A.; Maze, J.; MacLeod, D. A.; [and others]
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 5.  Bower, R. C.; Ross, S. D.; Dunsworth, B. G. 1989. Effect of GA3        treatment timing in relation to natural day length on flowering and sex        expression in Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. Canadian Journal of Forest        Research. 19: 1422-1428.  [10044]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Alaska-cedar reproduces vegetatively  under a variety of natural conditions from low-elevation bogs to krummholz  at tree line (1,3,20,23). In southeast Alaska, layering is common on  low-elevation bog sites, less common on better drained sites (14). In  contrast, from Mount Rainier, WA, southward to California, layering is  most common on drier, high-elevation sites (2). The species can also be  reproduced from cuttings. Container stock suitable for planting has been  produced in the greenhouse in 1 year by potting young cuttings treated  with indolebutyric acid (17).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

Germination is epigeal, and the rate tends  to be low. Warm stratification followed by cold stratification greatly  improves germination, but optimum stratification schedules have not been  developed. In British Columbia and Alaska, seeds ripen from mid-September  to late September and are shed during dry periods in the fall and early  winter. Empty cones remain on trees for 1 year or more.

    Formation of both pollen cones and seed cones can be induced in juvenile  trees by foliar application of gibberellin-A3 under conditions  of long day length. Cones induced by gibberellin-A3 yield  higher percentages of filled seeds with higher rates of germination than  cones that develop under natural conditions. Seed orchards should offer  the opportunity for treatment and thereby provide a practical means of  increasing cone production (22).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

Large crops of Alaska-cedar  seed occur at intervals of 4 or more years (12). The proportion of filled  seeds from mature cones is generally low and extremely variable. One study  in British Columbia showed that the number of seeds per cone averaged 7.2;  the proportion of filled seeds was only 29 percent (21). Cleaned seeds  average 240,000/kg (109,000/lb) (12). Information is not available on the  distance seeds are disseminated by wind. Seeds of Alaska-cedar are heavier  than seeds of the closely related Port-Orford-cedar and probably are not  disseminated beyond the 120 m (400 ft) reported for that species.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

Alaska-cedar is monoecious. Flowering  occurs from April in the southern part of the range to June in the north.  The tiny inconspicuous yellow or reddish male pollen-bearing strobili and  green female cones are borne on the tips of branchlets. Pollination occurs  from mid-April to late May in cones that were initiated the previous  summer. Cones generally mature in 2 years, but in the southern part of the  range they may mature in I year. Both first- and second-year cones occur  on the same branch and may easily be confused. Mature cones are about 12  mm (0.5 in) in diameter and globe-shaped. Mature and immature cones are  nearly the same size, so care must be taken to collect only mature cones  for seed. Immature cones are green and soft, often with purple markings,  and are home near the tips of branchlets. Mature cones are yellow-green  and hard, often with brown markings, and are borne farther from the branch  tips.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

Alaska-cedar is slow growing and long lived.  In Washington, dominant trees on better sites are typically 30 to 38 m  (100 to 125 ft) tall; in British Columbia, they are 90 cm (36 in) in  d.b.h. and 23 to 30 m (75 to 100 ft) tall; and in Alaska, dominant trees  are often 60 cm (24 in) in d.b.h. and 24 m (80 ft) tall, although larger  trees are common. The largest tree on record, located in Olympic National  Park, WA, has a d.b.h. of 3.7 m (12.0 ft), a height of 37 m (120 ft), and  a crown spread of 8.2 m (27 ft) (13). Growth rates of 16 to 20 rings per  centimeter (40 to 50/in) are common. In Alaska, suppressed trees 15 cm (6  in) in d.b.h. are frequently more than 300 years old; dominant and  codominant trees 60 to 90 cm (24 to 36 in) in d.b.h. are from 300 to more  than 700 years old. Trees that are extremely old have been reported; a  hollow tree 180 cm (70 in) in d.b.h. had 1,040 growth rings in the 30-cm  (12-in) outer shell (1).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Information on genetic variation of Alaska-cedar is not available (10);  however, 15 horticultural varieties of Alaska-cedar are recognized. An  intergeneric hybrid, Cupressocyparis x leylandii (Cupressus macrocarpa  x Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), has been described in Great Britain  (16). This hybrid can be propagated from cuttings and has been planted at  numerous locations in temperate regions with good results.

    Other intergeneric hybrids include Cupressocyparis x notabilis Mitchell  (Cupressus glabra x Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and Cupressocyparis  x ovensii (Cupressus lusitanica x Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) (19).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Callitropsis nootkatensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Callitropsis nootkatensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.

Contributor/s

Justification

Xanthocyparis nootkatensis has a vast range and is common or abundant in many locations. It has been exploited for timber and is a slow growing tree to maturity.Yellow cedar decline continues in Alaska and British Columbia and appears to be related to changing climate conditions. Dieback is not a phenomenon occurring uniformly across the range, not all populations are affected similarly, with some populations remaining healthy and (re)productive. There appear to be adequate mature individuals to provide seed source into the future, but dieback remains quite widespread throughout the northern forests. At this stage, the decline is insufficient to qualify for any IUCN threat category and therefore this species is assessed as Least Concern.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Occasional in coastal western North America, with thousands of occurrences.

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Population

Population
Some subpopulations in Alaska and British Columbia have been impacted by Yellow Cedar Decline which appears to be related to changing climate conditions. This dieback is not a phenomenon occurring uniformly across the range, not all populations are affected similarly, with some populations remaining healthy and (re)productive (Hennon et al. 2012). The overall extent of the decline is not yet within the thresholds for any threatened category.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Although 'dieback' (with largely unknown causes) has been reported in parts of its range, this species is widespread and occurs in many places that are still remote. Basically, the dieback phenomenon has been going on for many years, and appears to be related to changes in climate, in particular shifting snow pack is resulting in a lack of insulation to shallowly rooted trees. As winters continue to warm, and snowpack is less persistent increases in dieback are anticipated.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Nootka Cypress is present in numerous protected areas that represent portions of its entire range and include famous national parks, especially in the U.SA. Additionally, management strategies, particularly in the northern portions of the range, are being developed to model potential suitable habitats in the face of climate change, with potential to encourage conservation efforts in projected suitable habitat.
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Management considerations

More info for the terms: bog, natural

In southeast Alaska, Alaska-cedar is suffering from dieback that started
around the turn of the century [28,30,31].  Most of the mortality has
occurred in bog and semibog sites [28].  The search for a pathogen has
been exhaustive with little results.  It now seems likely the cause is
abiotic [28,30,31].  The most plausible hypothesis offered thus far is
that of a warming trend that started in Alaska in the late 1800's which
has decreased the snow pack [28].  Because Alaska-cedar has low frost
resistance [40], the decreased snow pack renders the fine roots
susceptible to frost damage.  This is the first sign of Alaska-cedar
decline [28].

Alaska-cedar is relatively free of damaging agents due to chemical
composition of the wood [24].  It is virtually rot-free, and the snags
can persist for 100+ years [29].  Hennon [26] lists the 77 known fungi
associated with Alaska-cedar.

Clearcutting changes the species compostion of second-growth forests in
the Western Hemlock Zone, increasing Alaska-cedar's percent composition
[23].  The recommended silvicultural practice of cutting old-growth
Alaska-cedar is clearcut with planting [60].

Plantation-grown Alaska-cedar has a growth rate comparable to that of
Douglas-fir; this is much greater than natural regeneration of
Alaska-cedar within its range [34].

Equations have been developed for Alaska-cedar based on growth percent
as an estimation of future productivity on different soil types [54].

Hamilton [21] explored the response of Alaska-cedar to single-tree
selection method, and he determined that Alaska-cedar will respond
favorably to the method.
  • 21.  Hamilton, Ronald C. 1991. Single-tree selection method: An uneven-aged        silviculture system. In: Genetics/silviculture workshop proceedings;        1990 August 27-31; Wenatchee, WA. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Timber Management Staff: 46-84.  [16562]
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 26.  Hennon, P. E. 1990. Fungi on Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. Mycologia.        82(1): 59-66.  [13291]
  • 28.  Hennon, P. E.; Hansen, E. M.; Shaw, C. G., III. 1990. Dynamics of        decline and mortality of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis in southeast Alaska.        Canadian Journal of Botany. 68: 651-662.  [10727]
  • 29.  Hennon, P. E.; Loopstra, E. M. 1991. Persistence of western hemlock and        western red cedar trees 38 years after girdling at Cat Island in        southeast Alaska. Research Note PNW-RN-507. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research        Station. 5 p.  [18341]
  • 30.  Hennon, P. E.; Shaw, C. G., III; Hansen, E. M. 1990. Dating decline and        mortality of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis in southeast Alaska. Forest        Science. 36(3): 502-515.  [13011]
  • 31.  Hennon, P. E.; Shaw, C. G., III; Hansen, E. M. 1990. Symptoms and fungal        associations of declining Chamaecyparis nootkatensis in southeast        Alaska. Plant Disease. 74: 267-273.  [13292]
  • 34.  Karlsson, Ingemar. 1982. Propagation of Alaska yellow cedar        (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis [D. Don]
  • 40.  Krajina, V. J.; Klinka, K.; Worrall, J. 1982. Distribution and        ecological characteristics of trees and shrubs of British Columbia.        Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia, Department of Botany and        Faculty of Forestry. 131 p.  [6728]
  • 54.  Hees, Willem W. S. van. 1988. Timber productivity of seven forest        ecosystems in southeastern Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-391. Portland, OR:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest        Research Station. 10 p.  [7877]
  • 60.  Weetman, G.; Vyse, A. 1990. Natural regeneration. In: Lavender, D. P.;        Parish, R.; Johnson, C. M.; [and others]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Alaska-cedar as a component of old-growth forests can provide critical
thermal and hiding cover for large ungulates [22] and small mammals
[58].
  • 22.  Hanley, Thomas A.; Robbins, Charles T.; Spalinger, Donald E. 1989.        Forest habitats and the nutritional ecology of Sitka black-tailed deer:        a research synthesis with implications for forest management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. PNW-GTR-230. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 52 p.  [7509]
  • 58.  Walters, Bradley B. 1991. Small mammals in a subalpine old-growth forest        and clearcuts. Northwest Science. 65(1): 27-31.  [15155]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: tree

Alaska-cedar is of minor importance to livestock and wildlife as browse.
When densities of black-tailed deer are high, Alaska-cedar is browsed
[51].  The Alaskan brown bear girdles the upslope side of the tree in
the spring to feed on the phloem, which is high in sucrose [27].
  • 27.  Hennon, P. E.; Hansen, E. M.; Shaw, C. G., III. 1990. Causes of basal        scars on Chamaecyparis nootkatensis in southeast Alaska. Northwest        Science. 64(1): 45-54.  [11028]
  • 51.  Sullivan, T. P.; Harestad, A. S.; Wikeem, B. M. 1990. Control of mammal        damage. In: Lavender, D. P.; Parish, R.; Johnson, C. M.; [and others]

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Wood Products Value

Alaska-cedar commands a high price for stumpage due to its fine texture,
straight grain, durability, freedom from splitting and checking,
resistance to acid, and excellent milling qualities [1,24,33,35].  The
wood is used in window frames, doors, boat building, utility poles,
marine pilings, cabinets [24,56], carving, and greenhouse construction
[33].

Most of the harvested wood is exported to Japan where, because of its
similar bright yellow color, it is used as a substitute for the rare
hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) [6].

The wood has an unusual and distinct "potato-like" odor [48].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle,        WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p.  [4208]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 33.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 35.  Karlsson, Ingemar; Russell, John. 1990. Comparisons of yellow cypress        trees of seedling and rooted cutting origins after 9 and 11 years in the        field. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 20: 37-41.  [11041]
  • 48.  Robuck, O. Wayne. 1985. The common plants of the muskegs of southeast        Alaska. Miscellaneous Publication/July 1985. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 131 p.  [11556]
  • 56.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]
  • 6.  Cherry, M. L.; Lester, D. T. 1992. Genetic variation in Chamaecyparis        nootkatensis from coastal British Columbia. Western Journal of Applied        Forestry. 7(1): 25-29.  [18313]

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Other uses and values

Native Americans used Alaska-cedar wood to produce bows [52], masks,
bowls, and dishes.  The roots were split and used for the framework of
baskets and hats [48].

Alaska-cedar is grown as an ornamental in North America and Europe
[41].
  • 41.  Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 252 p.  [9980]
  • 48.  Robuck, O. Wayne. 1985. The common plants of the muskegs of southeast        Alaska. Miscellaneous Publication/July 1985. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 131 p.  [11556]
  • 52.  Turner, Nancy J. 1988. Ethnobotany of coniferous trees in Thompson and        Lillooet Interior Salish of British Columbia. Economic Botany. 42(2):        177-194.  [4542]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Alaska-cedar seedlings can be planted in the subalpine environment where
disturbance is recurrent, for it is the only conifer capable of
surviving on sites with frequent avalanches [15].
  • 15.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon        and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 417 p.  [961]

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Palatability

Alaska-cedar browse is unpalatable to blue grouse [36].
  • 36.  King, R. Dennis; Bendell, James F. 1982. Foods selected by blue grouse        (Dendragapus obscurus fuliginosus). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 60(12):        3268-3281.  [10169]

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Special Uses

Special attributes of Alaska-cedar wood include durability, freedom from  splitting and checking, resistance to acid, smooth-wearing qualities, and  excellent characteristics for milling (11,23). It is suitable for  boatbuilding, utility poles, heavy flooring, framing, bridge and dock  decking, marine piling, window boxes, stadium seats, water and chemical  tanks, cooling towers, bedding for heavy machinery, furniture, patterns,  molding, sash, doors, paneling, toys, musical instruments, and carving.  The wood is highly regarded in Japan, and most high-quality logs are  exported.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Wikipedia

Cupressus nootkatensis

Cupressus nootkatensis (D.Don 1824) [synonyms Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Spach 1841, Callitropsis nootkatensis (D.Don) Oersted 1864, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (D.Don) Farjon & Hiep 2002] is a cypress of the Cupressaceae family that possesses a chequered taxonomic and nomenclatural history. This species goes by many common names including Nootka Cypress, Yellow Cypress and Alaska Cypress. Even though it is not a cedar, it is also sometimes confusingly called "Nootka Cedar", "Yellow Cedar", "Alaska Cedar", or "Alaska Yellow Cedar". The specific epithet "nootkatensis" is derived from its discovery on the lands of a First Nation of Canada, those lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, who were formerly referred to as the Nootka.

Taxonomy[edit]

First described in the genus Cupressus as Cupressus nootkatensis in 1824, it was transferred to Chamaecyparis in 1841 on the basis of its foliage being in flattened sprays, as in other Chamaecyparis, but unlike most (though not all) other Cupressus species.

However, this placement does not fit with the morphology and phenology of the cones, which are far more like Cupressus, like them maturing in two years, not one. Genetic evidence, published by Gadek et al. (2000), strongly supported its return to Cupressus and exclusion from Chamaecyparis.

More recently, Farjon et al. (2002) transferred it to a new genus Xanthocyparis, together with the newly discovered Vietnamese Golden Cypress Xanthocyparis vietnamensis; this species is remarkably similar to Nootka Cypress and the treatment has many arguments in its favour, as while they are not related to Chamaecyparis, neither do they fit fully in Cupressus despite the many similarities.

Little et al. (2004), while confirming the above relationship with further evidence, pointed out that an earlier nomenclatural combination in the genus Callitropsis existed, as Callitropsis nootkatensis (D.Don) Oerst., published in 1864 but overlooked or ignored by other subsequent authors. Little et al. therefore synonymised Xanthocyparis with Callitropsis, the correct name for these species under the ICBN when treated in a distinct genus. The name Xanthocyparis has now been proposed for conservation, and the 2011 International Botanical Congress followed that recommendation.

In 2010, Mao et al. performed a more detailed molecular analysis and placed Nootka Cypress back in Cupressus.[2][3] However, this is disputed, as the tree would compose a monophyletic subgenus. "The argument that it warrants treatment as a monotypic genus is not without merit, in which case the correct name is Callitropsis nootkatensis."[4]

Description[edit]

Nootka Cypress is native to the west coast of North America, from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, south to the Klamath Mountains in northernmost California. It is typically occurring on wet sites in mountains, often close to the tree line, but sometimes also at lower altitudes.

Cupressus nootkatensis is an evergreen tree to 40 m tall, commonly with pendulous branches. The foliage is in flat sprays, with dark green, 3–5 mm long scale-leaves. The cones have 4 (occasionally 6) scales, and resemble the cones of Mexican Cypress (Cupressus lusitanica, another Cupressus species which can show foliage in flat sprays) fairly closely, except being somewhat smaller, typically 10–14 mm diameter; each scale has a pointed triangular bract about 1.5–2 mm long, again similar to other Cupressus and unlike the crescent-shaped, non-pointed bract on the scales of Chamaecyparis cones. The Caren Range on the west coast of British Columbia is home to the oldest Nootka Cypress specimens in the world, with one specimen found to be 1,834 years old (Gymnosperm Database).

It is one of the parents of the hybrid Leyland Cypress; as the other parent, Monterey Cypress, is also in genus Cupressus, the ready formation of this hybrid is a further argument for the placement of the Nootka Cypress close to Cupressus.

In Alaska, where the tree is primarily referred to as "yellow-cedar," extensive research has been conducted into large-scale die-offs of yellow-cedar stands. These studies have concluded that the tree has depended upon heavy coastal snowpacks to insulate its shallow roots from cold Arctic winters. The impacts of climate change have resulted in thinner, less-persistent snowpacks, in turn causing increased susceptibility to freeze damage.[5]

Uses[edit]

Historically[edit]

This species has been considered to be one of the finest timber trees in the world and has been exported to China during the last century. The wood has been used for flooring, interior finish and shipbuilding[6]

Construction[edit]

The various physical properties of the wood make it an attractive material for both general construction and boat building. Due to its slow growth it is hard and, like other cypress woods it is durable; it therefore offers good dimensional stability, and is resistant to weather, insects, and contact with soil. It works easily with hand or machine tools; it turns and carves quite well. It can be fastened with glues, screws, and nails. Nootka Cypress's texture, uniform color, and straight grain will take a fine finish. It resists splintering and wears smoothly over time. When fresh cut it has a somewhat unpleasant bitter scent, but when seasoned it has barely any discernible scent, hence its traditional use in face masks.

Due to its expense, it is used mainly for finished carpentry. Typical uses include exterior siding, shingles, decking, exposed beams, glue-laminated beams, paneling, cabinetry, and millwork. In historic preservation it can be used as a substitute for Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) and Taxodium distichum (Baldcypress), due to current difficulties in obtaining quality timber of those species due to environmental concern and past over-exploitation, although this applies equally to Nootka Cypress.

Other uses for Nootka Cypress include saunas, and battery containers due to its resistance to acids. Traditionally, paddles, masks, dishes, and bows were made from the wood.

Landscaping[edit]

Cultivated Specimens at Morton Arboretum

The drooping branchlets give the tree a graceful weeping appearance. It makes an attractive specimen tree in parks and open spaces. It can also be used as a tall hedge.

It will grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9, but can be difficult to grow. Best growth is in light or heavy soil, preferably well drained, and in climates with cool summers. It prefers semi-shade to full sun.

Nootka Cypress can also be used in bonsai.

The cultivar C. nootkatensis 'Pendula' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]

Firewood[edit]

Nootka Cypress has extreme heartwood qualities that make this one of the most desired sources of heat on the west coast. A dead tree can last up to 100 years for firewood. This wood burns very hot and lasts a long time as embers.

Indigenous societies[edit]

The Nootka Cypress is used extensively by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, along with another cypress, Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar). While Western Red Cedar was preferred for larger projects (houses, canoes), Nootka Cypress, was used for smaller carvings such as vessels and utensils.

A legend amongst the Nootka peoples of the Hesquiaht First Nation tells of the origins of the Nootka Cypress. In the legend, a raven encounters three young women drying salmon on the beach. He asks the women if they are afraid of being alone, if they are afraid of bears, wolves, and other animals. Each women responded "no". But when asked about owls, the women were indeed afraid of owls. Hearing this, the trickster raven hid in the forests, and made the calls of an owl. The terrified women ran up the mountains, but turned into Nootka Cypress trees when they were out of breath. According to the Nootka, this is why Nootka Cypress grows on the sides of mountains, and also why the bark is silky like a woman's hair, the young trunk is smooth like a woman's body.[8]

In Tlingit culture the story of Natsilane describes how a Nootka Cypress was used to carve the world's first killer whale.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Plant List, Xanthocyparis nootkatensis
  2. ^ Mao, K., Hao, G., Liu, J., Adams, R. P. & Milne, R. I. 2010: Diversification and biogeography of Juniperus (Cupressaceae): variable diversification rates and multiple intercontinental dispersals. - In New Phytologist. 188(1):254-272.
  3. ^ The Gymnosperm Database - Cupressus
  4. ^ The Gymnosperm Database - Cupressus nootkatensis
  5. ^ Yellow-cedar are dying in Alaska; scientists now know why
  6. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross. Trees You Want to Know. Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1934 p 30
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula'". Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Stewart (1984), p. 27

References[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Disjunct inland populations of Chamaecyparis nootkatensis occur in British Columbia and Oregon (V. J. Krajina et al. 1982). 

 In addition to variation in habit within the species, occasional plants have divergent forms of foliage. One collection (Canada, British Columbia, dry woods near Victoria, S . Flowers s . n ., 1 Aug 1950, UC, WIU) has older foliage typical of the species, with all newer foliage strongly flattened, with facial and lateral leaves of strongly unequal size, and with smaller cones. In light of the foliar and habit phenotypes recognized in the horticultural literature (for example, A. J. Rehder [1949] listed, with full bibliographic citations, 22 published varieties and forms best considered as cultivars), no taxonomic significance is attached to this variation here.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Called Cupressus nootkatensis in some recent works; Kartesz (1994 checklist) and Flora of North America (1993) maintain this species in the genus Chamaecyparis. Kartesz (discussion with L. Morse 29Jul01) says he may treat this species in Cupressus in his next edition, but plans to keep C. lawsoniana and C. thyoides in Chamaecyparis.

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Synonyms

Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little [62]
Cupressus nookatensis D. Don. [61]
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Farjon & Harder [63]
  • 61.  Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A.  1999. Synthesis of the North        American flora (Windows Version 1.0).  [36715]
  • 62.  Little, Damon P.; Schwarzbach, Andrea E.; Adams, Robert P.; Hsieh, Chang-Fu.         2004. The circumscription and phylogenetic relationship of Callitropsis and        the newly described genus Xanthocyparis (Cupressaceae).  American Journal of Botany. 91: 1872-1881. [62352]
  • 63.  Farjon, A.; Hiep, Nguyen Tien; Harder, D. K.; Loc, Phan Ke; Averyanov, L.  2002.        A new genus and species in the Cupressaceae (Coniferales) from northern Vietnam,        Xanthocyparis vietnamensis. Novon. 12: 179-189. [62863]

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The scientific name of Alaska-cedar is Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach. It is a
member of the Cypress family (Cupressaceae) [32,64].

Alaska-cedar hybridizes with members of the genera Xanthocyparis and Cupressus. The hybrids
are as follows [23,24,61]:

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis × Xanthocyparis vietnamensis
Cupressocyparis × notabilis (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis × Cupressus glabra)
Cupressocyparis × ovensii (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis × Cupressus lusitanica)
Cupressocyparis × leylandii (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis × Cupressus macrocarpa)

The Cupressocyparis hybrids have been extensively introduced in Great Britain [23].
  • 23.  Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach   white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer,        C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United        States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320.  [7586]
  • 24.  Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach        Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical        coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric.        Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service: 97-102.  [13373]
  • 32.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 61.  Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A.  1999. Synthesis of the North        American flora (Windows Version 1.0).  [36715]
  • 64.  Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2013. Flora of North America north of Mexico, [Online]

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Common Names

Alaska-cedar
Alaska cedar
Alaska yellow-cedar
Alaska yellowcedar
yellow-cedar
Alaska cypress
Nootka cypress
Nootka false-cypress
Sitka cypress
yellow cypress
mountain cypress
cypress

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