The moss sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrosa‘) reaches 50 to 70 feet in height. Its leaves, green on top and white streaked below, are scale-like and pressed against flattened branchlets. The trunk bark, smooth and reddish brown, peels off in thin strips. In this variety most of the leaves found on mature tree spays are needle-like, that is the spiny characteristic of the immature plant is retained to adulthood.It grows male and female flowers on the same tree and produces small, globose cones with six to nine soft woody scales. The tree is native to Japan. This Marquand Park specimen may be a cultivar called ‘blue moss sawara cypress.’
Scientific Name (order and family): Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrosa’ (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl. (Pinales, Cupressaceae)
Habit: Large tree, 25 meters tall.
Trunk/Stem: Brown-red bark.
Leaves: Evergreen; foliage in sprays but individual leaves are acicular (most of the leaves of the Squarrosa cultivar are needle-like, spiky).
Fruits and Seeds: Immature fruit green summer; soccer ball-shaped cones with plates making-up the surface; cones initially green and maturing to brown.