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Arizona CypressCupressus arizonica

  • Arizona Cypress - Cupressus arizonica var arizonica
  • Arizona Cypress Tall
  • Arizona Cypress

As the name suggests, this heat- and drought-tolerant cypress is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. While it has a limited reach in terms of Hardiness Zones, the Arizona cypress is an excellent choice for windbreaks, erosion control, Christmas trees and landscape ornamentals.

Hardiness Zones

The arizona cypress can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 7–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The Arizona cypress grows to a height of 40–50' and a spread of 25–30' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Arizona cypress grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy and well-drained soils. It has normal moisture requirements but displays good drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Develops rough, shredding, gray-brown bark.
  • Tolerates hot, dry conditions once established.
  • Produces wide, dark reddish-brown cones that are 1–1¼" in diameter. These cones mature at the end of the second year but persist on the tree for many years.
  • Works well for Christmas trees, ornamental specimens, windbreaks and erosion control.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Features gray-green, scale-like needles that closely overlap each other and encircle the branchlets. These needles are very soft and aromatic.

Wildlife Value

The seeds of the Arizona Cypress are consumed by squirrels, ground squirrels and other rodents.


The Arizona Cypress is a native of interior Mexico, extending into the southwestern United States where it is the only native cypress. For a major species it was discovered by Euro-Americans rather recently in history. Credit for the discovery goes to E. L. Greene, who made the find in the 1880s. While authorities do not agree on the taxonomy of the Arizona cypress, two varieties are often listed. Cypressus arizonica has thick, fibrous, coarsely shedding, gray-brown bark and dull gray-green needles with no resinous exudations. Cypressus arizonica var. glabra has smooth bark that exfoliates in papery layers of purple to red and bright blue-green needles with resin glands.