Dwarf Redwoods

The dwarf or dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is one of three species that bears the redwood moniker. The sole living species of its genus, dwarf redwoods are very attractive conifers, who are quite similar to coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). Some botanists even contend that the dwarf redwood is the direct ancestor of the coastal redwood. […]

Juniper Trees

The genus Juniperus contains between 50 and 68 different species, depending on the authority consulted. Juniper trees inhabit much of the world’s land area, including parts of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Junipers are common plants and trees across arid regions of the American southwest; in many places, they are the primary tree species […]

Oriental Swamp Cypresses

Also called the water pine, the Oriental swamp cypress (Gylptostrobus pensilis) is the sole member of its genus. Native to China and neighboring portions of Vietnam, the trees show many similarities to their close relatives, the bald cypresses (Taxodium spp.). Like bald cypresses, Oriental swamp cypresses commonly grow in low-lying, damp areas. They often grow […]


China-firs (Cunninghamia ssp.) are impressive trees, attaining heights of 150 feet in their native lands. Although they are native to Asia, they have been planted in the Unites States since the beginning of the 19th century. Fortunately, they do not exhibit invasive habits, so you can plant them in your yard without feeling guilty. Taxonomic […]

False Cypresses

The false cypresses (Chamaecyparis spp.) are a group of beautiful, evergreen trees native to portions of North America and Asia. Perhaps unfairly tarnished by the “false” moniker, it is important to understand botanists do not intend the common name as a pejorative; they simply use it to distinguish between two common lineages. False cypresses are […]

Sugi Trees

Known in its native Japan as Sugi, Cryptomeria japonica is a beautiful, evergreen conifer that is the sole member of its genus. It also goes by the names Japanese or oriental cedar, although this conifer is not that closely related to the true cedars (Cedrus spp.). Sugi have been cultivated in China for centuries, and […]

Incense Cedars (Calocedrus decurrens)

Named for the spicy aroma of the wood, incense cedars are interesting trees. Close relatives of the northern white cedars (Thuja spp.); incense cedars are relatively rare in the natural world, although they were formerly common. Considered at one time to be represented a single species, botanists now recognize several different species of incense cedars. […]

old picture of men

Kauri Conifers (Agathis spp.)

Kauri trees are a group of about 21 species that form the genus Agathis. Native to the South Pacific region, various representatives of the genus occur in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines and New Guinea. The biodiversity of the genus reaches its peak on the island of Borneo, where up to five species may occur […]


Tasmanian Cedars (Athrotaxis spp.)

Tasmanian cedars are attractive conifers, native to the temperate rainforests of west Tasmania. Even though these trees originate on the opposite side of the planet and inhabit very different ecosystems, they resemble a few North American natives. The Family Tree Although Athrotaxis species often bear common names including terms like “pine” or “cedar,” they are […]

Araucaria araucana playa

Monkey-Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana)

Monkey-puzzle trees are unusual-looking and long-lived conifers, with lifespans exceeding 1,000 years in some cases. With ancestors dating back to the Jurassic Period, it is easy to imagine long-necked dinosaurs munching happily on the tree’s strange foliage and large seeds. The species draws its common name from an offhand quote uttered by an owner of […]