The threadleaf falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘filifera’) is a medium-size evergreen. This tree is native to Japan. Its leaves, green on top and white streaked below, are scale-like and pressed against flattened branchlets which string off at the ends. Young seedlings have narrow leaves to ¼” long. The bark, smooth and reddish brown, peels off in thin strips. Male and female flowers appear on the same tree and produce small, globose cones with six to nine soft woody scales. ‘Filifera’ cultivar has droopy stringy branches and forms a dense mound, usually no higher than 6 -8’; very finely textured tree. ‘Filifera Aurea’ cultivar similar to ‘Filifera’ with golden yellow foliage; usually grows to 15 – 20’. The genus name comes from the Greek chamai meaning “dwarf” or “to the ground” and kyparissos meaning “cypress tree”. “Pisifera” refers to the diminutive pea-sized cones.
Common name: Thread Leaf False Cypress
Scientific Name (family and order): Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘filifera’ (Cupressaceae, Cupressales)
Species Origin: Japan
New Jersey Status: USDA Introduced
Habit: 50 -70’ tall; 10 – 20’ wide, broadly conical –pyramidal with a loose open habit and numerous branchlets thickly covered with slender feathery sprays;
Habitat: Zone 4 – 8; stream banks in mountains.
Trunk/Stem: Bark red brown, peeling in thin strips.
Leaves: Evergreen, scale-like. Leaves very small with free, pointed tips, glossy yellow-green above with conspicuous white marks beneath in flattened aromatic sprays. Leaves at side of shoots slightly larger than those above and below.
Flowers: Monoecious. Male flowers brownish; female flower pale brown in small clusters at the tips of the shoots in spring.
Fruits and seeds: Fruit, a rounded-cone, like a soccer ball, 1/6 – 1/4” wide matures from green to brown. It appears as a clustered crowd on a short stalk. Scales 6 -10, yellowish brown, soft woody; upper side wrinkled, the middle is depressed with a small mucro at the depression. Seeds 1 – 2 ovoid and bulbous on both sides, glandular, wing broad, membranous, notched above and below.