Chamaecyparis obtusa (Japanese cypress, hinoki cypress or hinoki; or Japanese hinoki) is a species of cypress native to central Japan.
It is a slow-growing tree that grows to 35 m tall with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter. The bark is dark red-brown. The leaves are scale-like, 2–4 mm long, blunt-tipped (obtuse), green above, and green below with a white stomatal band at the base of each scale-leaf.
The cones are globose, 8–12 mm diameter, with 8–12 scales arranged in opposite pairs.
The related Chamaecyparis pisifera (sawara cypress) can be readily distinguished in its having pointed tips to the leaves and smaller cones.
The plant is spread in Japan. A similar cypress found on Taiwan is treated by different botanists as either a variety of this species (as Chamaecyparis obtusa var. formosana) or as a separate species Chamaecyparis taiwanensis; it differs in having smaller cones (6-9 mm diameter) with smaller scales and leaves with a more acute apex.
It is grown for its very high-quality timber in Japan, where it is used as a material for building palaces, temples, shrines, traditional noh theatres, baths, table tennis blades, and masu. The wood is lemon-scented, light pinkish-brown, with a rich, straight grain, and is highly rot-resistant.
It is also a popular ornamental tree in parks and gardens, both in Japan and elsewhere in temperate climates, including western Europe and parts of North America. A large number of cultivars have been selected for garden planting, including dwarf forms, forms with yellow leaves, and forms with congested foliage. It is also often grown as bonsai.
Ideal for BONSAI
Seed Sow March/April in a seedbed outdoors. The seed is best sown in pots in a frame. Seed can take 18 months to germinate. One month warm then one-month cold stratification has produced good results.
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. Difficult, it may be best done in late winter to early spring.