Chamaecyparis lawsoniana - (A.Murray.)Parl.
Common Name Lawson Cypress, Port orford cedar, Oregon Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Lawson's Cypress
Family Cupressaceae
USDA hardiness 5-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Usually scattered in small groves on moist slopes and canyons, often on serpentine soils, below 1500 metres. Seldom more than 50 kilometres from the coast[71, 82].
Range Western N. America - Oregon to California. Locally naturalized in S. Europe[50].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Bloom Color: Blue, Red. Form: Columnar, Oval, Pyramidal, Upright or erect.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Lawson Cypress, Port orford cedar, Oregon Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Lawson
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Lawson Cypress, Port orford cedar, Oregon Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Lawson
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cupressus lawsoniana.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Ground Cover; Hedge;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The resin is a powerful diuretic[46, 61, 82].


Other Uses
Broom;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Resin;  Wood.

Plants can be grown as a tall hedge[29, 75, 200] They are very tolerant of clipping so long as this does not extend into the brown barked wood since trees cannot regenerate from this[200]. Any trimming should be done in the summer[200]. Certain dwarf forms can be used for ground cover, the cultivars 'Knowefieldensis', 'Nidiformis' and 'Tamariscifolia' have been recommended[208]. The branches have been used to make brooms[257]. Wood - very close-grained, hard, strong, durable, easily worked, light, abounding in fragrant resin, acid resistant. One of the world's finest timbers, it is widely used for flooring, fencing, making boats etc[46, 61, 82, 171]. It is now in short supply due to over-harvesting without replanting[200].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Hedge, Screen, Specimen. Succeeds in most soils and situations, but prefers a moist deep loamy soil and a sheltered position[1, 11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Survives on dry alkaline soils[200]. Growth of trees is hardly affected by a lack of phosphate in the soil. Plants are moderately shade tolerant, especially when young[81, 200]. Plants are tolerant of atmospheric pollution according to one report[200], whilst another says that they do not do well in a polluted atmosphere[1]. A fairly wind tolerant plant, but it does not like severe maritime exposure[75]. Plants are susceptible to wind burn and recover variably[75]. This species is hardy to about -25°c[200]. A fairly long-lived tree in the wild with specimens 500 - 600 years old[229]. It is a very valuable timber tree in N. America and it is sometimes cultivated as a forestry tree in Britain, where it occasionally self-sows[1, 11]. It establishes well and grows quickly. New shoots can make 1 metre in a year but trees rarely maintain that rate and 30cm is nearer the average[185]. New growth starts very slowly in April, speeds up in June and ceases in September[185]. A very uniform species in the wild[200], in cultivation it is polymorphic and there are many named varieties[1, 185, 200]. The crushed foliage has a pungent smell[245]. Favoured by many birds for roosting, providing high cover and especially for nesting, large specimens of this tree help to attract songbirds to the garden[200]. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed - sow March/April in a seedbed outdoors[78]. The seed is best sown in pots in a frame[K]. Seed can take 18 months to germinate. One month warm then one month cold stratification has produced good results[113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings in late summer or autumn in sandy soil in a cold frame[1, 11, 200]. Difficult, it may be best done in late winter to early spring[113].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Chamaecyparis nootkatensisNootka Cypress, Nootka Cypress, Yellow Cypress, Alaska Cedar01
Chamaecyparis thyoidesWhite Cypress, Atlantic white cedar, Coast White Cedar, Southern White Cedar, White Cypress01
Santolina chamaecyparissusCotton Lavender22


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Administrator .
Apr 16 2011 12:00AM
High up at 960 feet above sea level, in the coldest part of Castlecomer plateau Carlow. Laois and Kilkenny (Ireland). A hedge of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana grew to 55 feet in 40 years. At the time of planting the surrounding area was barren of trees although the area is well wooded today. The trees have a gentle lean of 3 degrees but are perfectly formed in every way for timber, I am delighted to report that they grew well in such a cold environment, having been windswept for at least 20 years.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Chamaecyparis lawsoniana  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.