TREES & plants


Foliage of Hinoki-cypress

Hinoki-cypress has dark green needles on graceful spreading branches that droop at the ends and attractive red peeling bark.  A number of dwarf and compact cultivars add accent in the garden. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name: 
Chamaecyparis obtusa
All Common Names: 
Hinoki-cypress, Hinoki falsecypress, Japanese cypress
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub, 
  • Tree
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen, 
  • Massing, 
  • Hedge, 
  • Foundation, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet), 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet), 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet), 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter, 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Late winter, 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular, 
  • Pyramidal, 
  • Round, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size and Form

50 to 75 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide; pyramidal form; cultivars vary in shape and size.

Tree & Plant Care

Unique textures and array of foliage colors make cultivars of this species excellent accents in the garden.
Keep soil moist; protect from wind.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan.

Bark color and texture 

Reddish-brown and sheds in narrow strips.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate,  two needle types, flattened stems, dark green in color with a white X-like line on underside.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous.  Male and female flowers on same plant but in different structures.

Cones on Hinoki-cypress Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small brown cones, on short stalks.

Cultivars and their differences 

Compact hinoki-cypress  (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Compacta’)6 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide; upright form.

Dwarf hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana'):  1 to 2 feet high and wide; irregularly rounded, dark green.

Dwarf slender hinoki-cypress  (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’): 4  to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; irregular when young, becoming upright with age.


Chamaecyparis obtusa or Hinoki-cypress