Leyland Cypress - Cupressocyparis x leylandii
Family - Cupressaceae
Also known as - Leylandii
This is a fast growing coniferous tree widely planted as an ornamental or hedging species, growing to 15m (49ft) in less than 20 years in good conditions. It is a hybrid tree that arose from two north American species, the Monterey cypress, C. macrocarpa and Nootka cypress, C. nootkatensis planted in the 1800's with the cross appearing in the late 1880's. This cross is unlikely to have happened in the wild as they are from divergent areas in North America. When mature the tree is tall and conical with some attaining 40m (130ft), however it is rarely allowed to reach this state as it is usually heavily pruned for hedging. Subsequent breeding efforts and wild occurrences have resulted in over forty variants most of which are sterile, propagated mainly from cuttings, where it continues to be a popular plant for cultivation in parks and gardens. The cultivar 'Gold Rider' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Shoots form flattened sprays which carry scale-like leaves. Male ♂ cones are dark red, female ♀cones are blue-green and spherical. Relatively shallow rooted, taller Leylandii are easily uprooted in storms and do not grow well in hot or dry areas. Their rapid thick growth, tolerance of high levels of pollution and salt spray, means they are sometimes used to achieve privacy, a quick boundary or shelter hedge, but such use can result in disputes with neighbours whose own property becomes overshadowed. Widely regarded as invasive species with no redeeming features, to be eradicated from the country. Part VIII of the UK's Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 enabled property owners affected by high hedges (not necessarily of Leylandii) to have hedges reduced in height or removed.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Leyland Cypress - Cupressocyparis x leylandii is eaten or used as a herbal remedy. The sap can cause skin irritation in susceptible individuals.
Photo above ©2004 MPF
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