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By Rhysw

wellington, New Zealand Nz

Cupressus or juniper ?

Could anyone help identify this tree. I would have thought it was a cupressus but the sprays are thinner and more delicate than I would expect, and pointed. Is it a juniper ?

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It's not a Juniper. In the close up of the leaves (third pic) it looks most like Libocedrus, the incense cedar, because of the way the ends of the branches are squared off and the 'flare' where the ends of the leaves flare out slightly along the stem. The sprays of leaves don't look flattened enough to be Chamaecyparis, so that leaves Cupressoscyparis (C.leyandii) - but that's not what it looks like in the bigger pics. I don't suppose there are any cones lying about that fell from the tree last autumn, or any still adhering anywhere that you can add a photo of?

11 Jan, 2018


I didn't notice before (thought it was part of neighbouring tree) but it has pink flowers (racemes?) at the end of the branches. I found another one nearby and have added it as photo one. I assume that will narrow it down pretty quickly if it isn't actually a conifer !

12 Jan, 2018


The pink flowers remind me of Tamarix. There are many varieties and perhaps New Zealand has some unusual ones. Only a guess though.

12 Jan, 2018


Thats it, thanks so much. I wasn't giving people much to go on by leaving out the rather important picture of the flowers.

12 Jan, 2018


Aha! all is revealed! Definitely Tamarix...

12 Jan, 2018


Thanks again, I am new to this forum but it appears to be the most knowledgeable and responsive !

BTW Bamboo, you mentioned that it was not juniper at the outset. I am still getting to grips with junipers and would be interested in learning what made you sure it wasn't. I thought the sprays of Juniperus virginia (pencil cedar) looked a bit similar.

12 Jan, 2018


Well, all conifers needles can look a bit similar - but Juniper has two forms of growth, juvenile and adult,which means at the tips of branches there will be juvenile leaves. These are pointed and awl like, and much more open and needlelike - the adult leaves are close to the stem, tiny and scale like. There's no special knowledge to being able to tell you that, I just happen to have a book that shows conifers with a close up of the leaf arrangement for each type - many conifers look superficially similar.

12 Jan, 2018


That is so helpful. I have just popped out to have a look at a couple of trees i assumed were junipers (more by looking at the stripy bark and and the thread like leaves) and now can see the juvenile leaves. That sorts out the junipers ! Thanks again

13 Jan, 2018

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