| The genus Cupressus has been
interpreted to include ~24 species distributed in the Mediterranean, e Asia and
west into the Himalayas, and w N & S Amer. (Earle, The Gymnosperm
Database, http://www.conifers.org/cu/Cupressus.php); however, during the past decade, molecular studies have
led to splitting of the genus and transfer of species among four genera: Cupressus
with ~9 spp in the Old World, Callitropsis with 1 sp. nw N
Chamaecyparis with 2 spp in N. Amer. and 3 in e Asia), and Hesperocyparis
(16 spp. w N Amer. to Columbia (Adams et al. 2009). Delimitation of
the species and varieties have continued to be revised as well.|
is distinguished by the woody cones, often persistent on older branches
and opening (scales separating) upon fire, in contrast to the succulent
cones of Juniperus with fused scales, developing at the ends of
leafy green branches (or in axils of leaves).
Adams, R.P., J.A.
Bartel and R.A. Price. 2009. A new genus,
Hesperocyparis, for the cypresses of the western hemisphere.
Phytologia 91: 160–185.
See also Waynes World.
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/trfeb98a.htm for a comparison of cones
(Synonyms: Cupressus macrocarpa; Callitropsis macrocarpa;
Point Lobos Reserve, Feb 2011
(Synonyms: Cupressus nevadensis; Cupressus arizonica var.
nevadaensis; Callitropsis nevadensis; Neocupressus arizonica var.
California—Kern Co.: Kern River Canyon, 2500 ft, along
Old Kern Canyon Road, occurring
with Juniperus californica, Pinus sabiniana, Quercus douglasii,
Ceanothus cuneatus. Apr 2011.
Possibly not reported from
this location, although not far
from the Bodfish region where known from elevations above 3,000 ft;
however, Bartel (Jepson Man., 2nd ed. online) indicates its elevation can
be as low as 750 m.
The species occurs mostly in Kern County, CA.
Record of collections for active species in the National Cancer
Institute's antitumor screening program
Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2013, Mar, Sep 2015)
Hesperocyparis nevadensis (Cupressus
nevadensis Abrams 1919) Bartel 2009 [Cupressus arizonica
(Greene 1882) ssp. nevadensis (Abrams) Murray 1982; Cupressus
arizonica var. nevadensis (Abrams) Little 1966;
Callitropsis nevadensis (Abrams) D. P. Little 2006;
Hesperocyparis arizonica var. nevadensis (Abrams) de
Laubenfels 2012]. Piute cypress. Pyramidal trees;
identified by the persistent woody cones on old branches; fruit cone
type galbulus (Spjut 1994), further differentiated as platygalbulus
(Stuppy & Spjut in prep.) leaves otherwise much like those of the
upright junipers. Type from Piute Mts. near Bodfish, Kern Co., CA.
“Piute cypress woodland” (alliance) recognized in MCV2 when >50%
relative cover in tree canopy; the range shown to extend further north
than described in JM2. Kern Co.: An infrequent species, nearly
endemic to Kern County, chaparral and Douglas oak woodland north end of
Piute Mt., north slope of Hobo Ridge on Breckenridge Mt. (40 acres,
burned in 1970), Back Canyon—south end of Piute Mt., south slope of
Cannell Creek on east side of Kern Canyon, east slope of Greenhorn
Range, southeast slope of Black Mt., Bartolas Creek near base of Pilot
Knob, and Bald Peak, 761–1,828 m (CCH collections only from Piute Mt.).
The Piute Cypress Alliance which includes chaparral species, Pinus
monophylla, and Juniperus californica (or J. grandis
in Tulare County) has been mapped by the USDA Forest Service (2009,
unpubl. rpt.) in small areas of the “Lower Batholith and Tehachapi–Piute
Mountains Subsections”, adjacent to alliances of the lower montane mixed
chaparral, California buckwheat, blue oak, and singleleaf pinyon pine.
Native Americans employed dried seeds for sore chest, colds, or the
entire cone for menstruation problems, kidney problems, and backaches
(Moerman). Samples of six related species showed antitumor activity in
KB, several also active in P-388 and WM. Active agents unknown.
Piute Cypress has been classified in three genera,
Cupressus, Callitropsis, and Hesperocyparis. Mao et
al. (2010) in a molecular study found two strongly supported groups, one
for Cupressus, and another for Callitropsis,
Hesperocyparis and Xanthocyparis (from Viet Nam). This
suggests that Piute Cypress might be best classified in Callitropsis.
However, Christenhusz et al. (2011) subsequently proposed reinstating
Cupressus, because they did not find strong support for combining
Callitropsis with Cupressus. But the controversy continues
in further evidence for support of Hesperocyparis (Terry & Adams
2015). Moreover, Piute cypress was recently treated as a variety of
H. arizonica (de Laubenfels 2012), whereas Terry et al. (2012), in a
phylogenetic analysis of New World cypresses, continue to treat it as a
distinct species, shown within a Macrocarpa clade of six species
sister to an Arizonica clade of nine species.