Cupressus sempervirens subsp. dupreziana
Common Name: Italian cypress
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Cupressaceae
Native Range: Southeastern Algeria
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 40.00 to 70.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10. Best in well-drained sandy loams in full sun with medium to moderate moisture. Tolerates some drought once established. May not be grown in the St. Louis area, but does very well in dry mediterranean-type climates such as exist in many parts of California.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cuprressis sempervirens, commonly called Italian cypress, is an evergreen conifer that is native to southern Europe and western Asia. In its native habitat, it typically grows in a spreading, open-horizontal form (sometimes referred to as var. horizontalis) that is rarely if ever sold in commerce. Trees commonly sold in commerce as Italian cypress are of the familiar narrow-columnar or fastigiate form that typically grows 40-60’ (less frequently to 80’) tall. This columnar/fastigiate form (sometime referred to as C. s. var. sempervirens, C. s. ‘Stricta’ or Stricta Group), is unknown to the wild, but was the tree originally described by Linneaus as Cupressus sempervirens and is the cypress of classical literature that has been commonly planted in Italian classic gardens since Renaissance times. This columnar/fastigiate form features scale-like dark gray-green leaves on upright branches. Foliage is aromatic when crushed. Rounded fruiting cones (to 1.5” diameter).

Subspecies dupreziana is also known as Cupressus dupreziana and may be just a geographical form of the species, Cupressus sempervirens. First discovered in 1864, it is native to the Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range in the Sahara Desert in southeast Algeria. In the wild, it is a very rare and endangered plant with most of the population over 1000 years old and very little reproduction occurring due to the increasing desertification of its habitat and low viability of its seeds. It differs from the species in having bluer foliage with a resin spot on each leaf and smaller cones. It grows 40 to 70 ft. tall and 10 to 20 ft. wide.

Genus name is the Latin name for Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens.)

Specific epithet means ever green.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Spider mites attack foliage in some areas.

Garden Uses

Narrow columnar form is sometimes difficult to fit into residential landscapes. Good specimen around tall buildings.