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Notabilis - Cross of Alaska Cedar & Arizona Cypress

scotjute Z8
September 21, 2007

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this hybrid? Ran across it on website for Lousisiana's Christmas Forest. www.thechristmasforest.com

Comments (53)

  • pineresin

    "Wonder if it's more drought tolerant than Leyland Cypress. Leaf Color/shape. Assume over-all conical shape?"
    Yep, conical, and yep, I'd expect it to be more drought and heat tolerant than Leyland; and also much more resistant to Seiridium canker (C. glabra is very resistant, C. macrocarpa very susceptible).

    "I expected more accurate language from a scientist / forestry expert"
    Too right!!


  • georgeinbandonoregon

    not sure why anyone is surprised by the use of "cedar" as a common name even by foresters--alaska cedar (aka chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and western red cedar (thuja plicata) are indeed the official "common" names accepted by the u.s. forest service. obviously the term is used for many other trees including junipers (i.e. "cedar breaks" in utah and "cedar falls" in iowa are both named after local species of juniperinus---j. virginiana in the case of the iowa plants)not to mention "stinking cedar" in florida (a torreya). you might as well be upset by the term cypress which is applied to cupressus, some chamaecyparis, (can you say "lawson cypress" which in its native range where i live is called "port oford cedar" and the completely unrelated "bald cypress" (taxodium).

  • pineresin

    Not surprised, just shocked/disgusted by the misuse of the English language perpetrated by these foresters, who really ought to know better.

    "you might as well be upset by the term cypress which is applied to cupressus, some chamaecyparis, (can you say "lawson cypress" which in its native range where i live is called "port oford cedar" and the completely unrelated "bald cypress" (taxodium)"
    They are related, all in the cypress family Cupressaceae, so calling them cypresses is correct. None of them is related to Cedrus, so they are not cedars.

    Anyway, pics of Cupressus à notabilis:


  • scotjute Z8

    Thanks for the pictures Resin. I like the droopy look.

  • coniferfreak

    Awesome pics Resin! Now I want that in my yard!

  • william-and-mary

    Hello All,

    Glad to see there are some as fanatical about cypress as I.

    I'm having a quite a time identifying the various cypresses that were planted long ago at my new home in southern California. Some of the trees were planted in the early 1960's, and are very large.

    People have called them all 'Monterey Cypress' (Cupressus macrocarpa), but only two of the trees look like that to me (grey bark on the trunks, staggered limbs). The others look more like the C. notabilis picture Resin posted above (denser foliage, more Christmastree-shaped).

    I asked a friend who's a good botanist, and he said that some of the cypresses are hard to discern from one another, and then the issue of cultivars in Monterey Cypresses makes it even harder.

    Any cypress experts out there who can solve the mystery? It's hard to believe they are all Monterey Cypresses. They look like two different species to me... I'll dig-up some photos, if anyone's interested.

    Thank you! :-)


  • pineresin

    Yep, some photos would help! If you can, get close-ups with cones in.


  • smalljaw

    Hey Resin , Is ther more blue at any time of the year ? I have been wanting this for a while . The pics I have seen before where way more blue . Who has this for sale or trade ? Thanks for the pics and input .

  • pineresin

    Hi Smalljaw,

    I think it's just the camera colour balance and the light on the day - the tree is fairly glaucous to look at. I was a bit surprised how green the pics came out when I unloaded them from the camera.


  • torreya-2006

    Now why don,t gardencentres grow cupressocyparis x notabilis
    instead of foul cupressocyparis x layandii ita s much
    nicer tree and would be better for gardens and as a

  • greenlarry

    Hang on,isn't the notabilis tree a species hybrid(cupressus x) and leylandii a genus hybrid(x cupressocyparis),and out of curiosity what species went into the leylandii make up?

  • pineresin

    "what species went into the leylandii make up?"

    Cupressus nootkatensis à Cupressus macrocarpa.


  • greenlarry

    Eh! I thought it was a hybrid genus, chamaecyparis x cupressus giving x cupressocyparis?

  • pineresin

    Used to be - but genetic studies have now shown that Nootka Cypress was wrongly classified in Chamaecyparis, and fits far better in Cupressus. Some treat it (and Monterey Cypress) in a third genus Callitropsis (syn. Xanthocyparis), so the nomenclature is fairly complex!!


  • greenlarry

    Ah,now I see,its the Lumpers and Splitters show again!

  • pineresin

    "Ah,now I see,its the Lumpers and Splitters show again!"

    Partly, yes; the Cupressus / Callitropsis difference fits there.

    Its being in Chamaecyparis is a bit different though, that was a matter of interpretation of scientific data; in the past, they looked at the 'wrong' characters when deciding what it was related to, using a character that was affected by convergent evolution. A bit like in mediaeval times, when dolphins were classified as fish; it needed someone to point out that although fish-shaped, they have milk glands and are therefore actually mammals.


  • greenlarry

    And some people still call them fish!

  • scotjute Z8

    I've ordered some of these hybrids. Will try to post pictures in a couple of months once I have them for those interested.
    Is there any kind of common name for them besides Cupressus x Notabilis?
    Arizona Cypress/Alaska Cedar = Arika Cypress ?

  • pineresin

    It's called Alice Holt Cypress (after the Alice Holt Forest Research Station, where the hybrid was raised).


    Here is a link that might be useful: Alice Holt Forest Research Station

  • pinetree30

    "Shocked"? "Disgusted"? "Misuse of the English language"? Really now, let's not go overboard on the need to standardize common names, which not only goes against the whole point of having common -- read vernacular -- names that have historic roots among the people who talked about these trees long before there were scientists to get tight-assed about them, but which also drains color from the language you seek to protect from the defilers-at-the-gates. Who ever said a language could not or should not have inconsistencies, ambiguities, and absurdities? Would you like your language to be cleaned of all incongruities by a supercomputer? Bloodless, colorless, boring -- that's what you'll have. Standardization and logic is the purpose of scientific nomenclature. Common names should reflect the realities of human usage.

  • plants77

    RE: Really now, let's not go overboard on the need to standardize common names. . . Who ever said a language could not or should not have inconsistencies, ambiguities, and absurdities? Would you like your language to be cleaned of all incongruities by a supercomputer? Bloodless, colorless, boring -- that's what you'll have"

    REALLY now, let's not go overboard in our defense of inaccurate, misleading, confusing, ignorant terminology. I like to call this the "tree-bonics" debate because it's so analagous to the push to accept ebonics in regular English speech - and even less meritorious.

  • pinetree30

    Well, plants 77, you need to clear your mind. We are not talking about terminology; we are talking about nomenclature, i.e. names. Ignorance is a characteristic of ill-informed people, not of nomenclature, so let's throw out that part of your argument. Accuracy is not a property of names. Is the name Smith inaccurate because its bearer doesn't work metals for a living? Is the name cedar inaccurate because someone came along and decided to use that name for trees other than this cedar? Of course not. But "misleading" and "confusing" are relevant to a name if you are misled or confused by it. Only you can judge the state of your own mind. But it seems to me the remedy is for you to just learn the nuances of the existing terminology currently in use instead of impotently railing about it like an undergraduate who wants things simple.

  • plants77

    Dr. Lanner: I've read two of your books and I'm disappointed in you.

    As much as I am loathe to engage in this kind of argument on an internet discussion forum, I'm going to - because you offended me and need to be reprimanded for your childish ignorance. First, I have to say that I'm not an undergraduate. I have an advanced professional degree. And I am a professional educator. I'm not a botanist or a forestry expert, but I am an educated person who is entitled to voicing his ideas without being assaulted with this kind of gibberish, ad-hominem attack. And you, as an academic, should know better.

    Not only was your response tacky and unbecoming - it doesn't even make sense. For your sake I hope your colleagues don't see this nonsense. Why don't you try again and try to come up with something better than telling me to "clear my mind". Your little argument is just a bunch of half baked, philosophical, relativistic crap.

    If youÂre interested in trees and plants, as I am, of course you need to be aware of what the common vernacular is  but you also need to be able to communicate about it in a way that the rest of the world can understand. IÂm not suggesting we jail people who call junipers "cedars", but what harm is there in telling them that there is a better way to talk about things? None. You and Ron just donÂt like other people beating up on someone who knows less  thatÂs your job. He always has to be the definitive voice and the only one to correct the ignorant proletarian masses.

    Ron and Resin have gone on and on about this on at least two forums and itÂs little more than a "whose the bigger expert" pissing contest. And here is another expert weighing in, trying to gratify himself by extolling his supreme opinions. No one cares what you think about the proper use of the English language you ego-maniac. YouÂre a tree nerd, nothing more, no better than the rest of us tree nerds. Get over yourself. You jerk.

  • Embothrium

    The world uses common names as it does without regard to what any individual person thinks about it. I don't see pointing out this factual reality to those who insist there are certain "correct" common names - that put anyone not using them as though they were Latin binomials in an erroneous position - as any sort of competition. I am just interested in seeing the way things are being recognized. If others persist in presenting a falsehood - or personal preference - as a rule or law over and over, then they are liable to be challenged repeatedly by those who don't accept it.

  • pinetree30

    I guess the proper terminology is "diatribe". And I thought we were just having fun.

  • pineresin

    "Is the name Smith inaccurate because its bearer doesn't work metals for a living?"

    No, but if a man whose birth name was Smith, is passed off as being named Jones, that is inaccurate.


  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    Oh, boy, it's plants77 again.

    Lay low, guys, or he'll have this Thread deleted, and may even attempt to have you banned from GardenWeb.

    He goes by many names, but his calling is ever the same....

  • blue_yew

    Whats the largest cupressocyparis x notabilis in Britain?

  • pineresin

    Hi Blue Yew,

    The tallest Cupressus à notabilis in Britain is 22m tall and 51cm trunk diameter, at Westonbirt.

    The stoutest is 18m tall and 80cm trunk diameter, at Alice Holt; this is the original specimen, now 51 years old.


  • Embothrium

    Well, that's certainly notable.

  • nothotsuga


  • plants77

    what was fixed exactly?

  • nothotsuga

    what was fixed exactly?

    Read the title: Cross of Alaska Cypress (or Nootka Cypress) & Smooth Arizona Cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis x Cupressus glabra)

    In Russia they call Pinus sibirica also "cedar".

    The fact is that cedar comes from latin Cedrus meant for the Cedar of Lebanon. And not for a Cypress or a Juniper. Please, let's rise the level of knowledge by using appropriate names.

    Here is a link that might be useful: NOOTKA CYPRESS: CHAMAECYPARIS OR CUPRESSUS ?

  • Embothrium

    Cedar has also been used for non-coniferous plants. Common names are not technical names. Technical names exist because common names cannot and will not ever be used by the lay public with technical accuracy.

  • plants77

    RE: Technical names exist because common names cannot and will not ever be used by the lay public with technical accuracy.

    You just won't let this go. I'm going to try one more time...

    Your argument seems to be, 'people won't follow the rule so let's not have it' That can be said about, and per your rationale invalidate, any rule. Take a grammar rule, for example, many people will still say that they are "doing good" in lieu of "doing well", even though it's technically incorrect. Should we do away with the 'adverbs modify verbs and adjectives modify nouns' rule? Some people will never follow it. . . .

    What about speed limits? Some people will always go 5 miles over the limit no matter what it is. Are you ready to write that off the books? A percentage of non-compliance isn't a good argument to do away with all rules.

    And for the record I'm not saying we shold standardize common names, just point out where common names make no sense and are confusing and encourage people to use more accurate terms.

    Presumably, people participate in things like this because they want to learn something or share something. So I don't see why someone sharing that a particular common name isn't very good (to someone who wants to learn) is just so offensive to you.

    My guess is that it irks you a little when someone corrects someone with information that you knew and chose not to correct them about. So you just have to argue about it to point out that you understand why those names are inaccurate. Why do you need to validate yourself this way? What's gone wrong in your life? Let it all out man.

  • Embothrium

    The isolated eccentrics are the ones who insist they can get the whole word using the common names they themselves prefer by coming on internet chat sites and harping incessantly at people who use common names they don't like.

    Try making a habit of telling people to their faces at every possible opportunity that they are using the wrong common names and see how far that goes.

    Coming over here and attacking people every time they use an Imperial measurement in casual conversation would have similar results, I am sure.

  • ian_wa

    I'm trying to think of any plant for which the deliberate introduction of a new common name for a plant that already had one has been at all successful. I can't think of many. Gray pine instead of digger pine for P. sabiniana would be one... but even that one hasn't fully caught on.

    The only way changing a common name could ever work is if enough people recognize a really important reason to do so. Apparently you have a lot of convincing to do.

    By the way, someone needs to cross C. nootkatensis with C. cashmeriana... now that would be an appealing plant.

  • barbaraincalif

    The experience of a novice: scientific names are a must when communicating with a broad audience. The common name many times varies, depending on the author's cultural or educational background; the scientific name is always the same so there can be no confusion.

    In face to face conversation, the use of scientific names can cause (the coffee just kicked in) confusion because of their difficult and varied pronunciation. Chamaecyparis, Sciadopitys, Sequoiadendron???? Were they sitting there, giggling, making up tongue-twisters?

    Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree...when expressing opinions and thoughts there is no right or wrong.


  • Embothrium

    As with other topics, if you wish to be understood and the listener (or reader, in a case like this where it is possible to talk back and forth) isn't familiar with your first choice then you work your way through multiple versions (names or phrases) until you come upon one they understand.

    If you insist there is only one way to put it and the other party doesn't know that version, then they may never know what you were talking about.

  • pinetree30

    Ian wa -- Another successful change in common name was going from "Bigtooth maple" to "canyon maple" for Acer grandidentatum. The former was stupid to begin with, being nothing more than the translation of the scientific name. Canyon maple was really the name people who lived with it used for this maple, so the "success" consisted in getting the 1979 Forest Service checklist to acknowledge "canyon".

  • dcsteg

    Quite an interesting thread...one I have managed to stay out of.

    I already know who will have the last word....it's a given.

    This last summer there was an article concerning PWN and the effects it was having on Scots Pine in the Kansas City area.

    The article was titled Scotch Pines are dieing at an alarming rate.

    I emailed the author and told him the correct name was Scots
    Pine. His response was he knew that but if he used Scots Pine nobody would know what tree that was. He even talked it over with Kansas State University and was advised to use Scotch Pine to avoid confusion.

    I vote for Barbra and her comment: "Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree...when expressing opinions and thoughts there is no right or wrong."


  • Embothrium

    PWN = Pine Wilt Nematode?

  • linus7

    E se eu escrevesse nomes comuns em Chinês?

    Now am I talking trees or?...

    Chinês means chinese in my Country...looks familiar to you I guess... And there´s one or two more words you can figer out in this sentence...

    On common names vs scientific: If you assume this is an English/american only forum... If you assume this is an International forum, it would just be nice to try and... get my point I guess...

    Having to learn English was a pleasure to me. I´m even fluent in some other languages but be familiar with common names of whatever part of the Country trees are from is... interesting but...misses the point of this forum, I guess. English is THE international language. Which is the international language for trees?... I´ve taken the chance to learn all trees scientific names when I got into this adiction. Sometimes I even don´t remember common names. But don´t take me wrong, I don´t mind common american or english tree names. (Even if I did...). I draw the line at calling Cupressus X Nobilis a Chamaecyparis... If you know parent trees are Cupressus... But I can understand that , since everybody in my country calls C.X Leylandii a Chamaecyparis X L.
    It just is not easy to change old habits...


    P.S. Is C.X Nobilis commonly found at nurseries in the U.K. or the U.S.? Never seen one here.

  • scotjute Z8

    Only seen it for sale at one place in the United States, and I had to order 80 trees to meet their minimum size order.
    As for the names, apparently per this topic, Alaska Cedar is still not considered to be cypress by some. Perhaps I should start calling it Alaska Cypress.

  • blue_yew

    Hello Linus

    Cupressocyparis x notabilis also cupressocyparis ovensii
    are rare here in Britain. However the leyland cypress is
    very common here in gardencenters i think its the worst
    conifer anyone could plant.

  • pineresin

    "As for the names, apparently per this topic, Alaska Cedar is still not considered to be cypress by some. Perhaps I should start calling it Alaska Cypress"

    Or, as per the original description by David Don in Lambert, Nootka Cypress.

    But why some still wish to force it into Cedrus is absurd and very counter-productive.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Original description

  • pinetree30

    I have put some comments relating to common names, taken from my book "Conifers of California" on my website. I hope these may clarify the topic a bit.
    Click on discussion at www.ronaldlanner.com
    I hope this doesn't stimulate further argument!

  • Embothrium

    Looks like it favors the Nooktka in Resin's pictures. I brought back a clone of Ovens cypress from UK in the 90's so I have of course seen that a few places here, including where I planted it myself. But I certainly didn't introduce it to the continent. Jacobson, North American Landscape Trees says it was over here by 1987, and also that Alice Holt cypress (C. notabilis) had been introduced to North America by 1980.

  • trees144

    II am looking for someone in the US, who has Notabilis or Alice Holt Cypress. I have seen several Christmas tree farms which have a tree they call Notabilis, but the pictures look more like Ovens or Murray Cypress. The Notabilis pictures posted here and on UK websites show more characteristics of an Arizona Cypress. Contact me from my website at: www.christmastreehome.com

    Here is a link that might be useful: Homestead Christmas tree farm

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