Yellow Cypress

Cupressus nootkatensis

In the northeast triangle there is a Cupressus nootkatensis, also called yellow cypress or yellow cedar, as described in the Wikipedia entry here.
Yellow cypress in the northeast triangle
Yellow cypress factoids:
  • This plant is not a cedar, in the genus Cedrus like our Cedar of Lebanon, but a cypress in the family Cupressaceae.
  • The nootkatensis refers to its first discovery by Europeans on the lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth people near Vancouver, Canada. These people were formerly called the Nootka.
  • It is an evergreen conifer, with the cones looking like round, small, spiked berries.
  • The yellow in its common name refers to the color of its wood, which resists decay, is lightweight but strong, and is good for carving.
  • Our specimen's pendulous or weeping growth habit makes it look sad.
Flattened scaly needles/leaves with round spiky berries or cones.
The yellow cypress or cedar looks very similar to the white cedar.
The whiter cedar has crescent-shaped non-pointed bracts on the scales of the cones, and the cones mature in one year.
The yellow cedar has pointed triangular bracts on the cones, and the cones mature in two years.
Botany 101 Bonus
Our yellow cypress has a species name referencing its native habitat in the land of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of the northwest. Of course, the indigenous people had their own name for this tree, and also many uses and legends, as they had for all the plants and animals in their land (for indigenous uses of yellow cypress see here). Ethnobotany is the study a region's plants and the traditional uses of the plants in the local culture.
The yellow cypress had many uses in building and in weaving. For example, 20-foot strips of bark were separated into ribbons for basket weaving, or into finer threads for making clothing. Other plants had specific medicinal uses. The Mohegan used the inner bark of the sugar maple as a cough remedy. The inner bark of the red oak was used to treat diarrhea and made into a tea for heart ailments. Other trees and parts were used for liver cleansing, to induce vomiting, and to improve fertility. Many of our evidence-based medicines today have origins in trees, like salicylic acid from willow trees being used to make aspirin. That said, please consult a medical person before using tree parts as medication (and please don't pull peel the bark off the trees in Baldwin Park, even if your cough or diarrhea is a nuisance!).