Cypress Encounter

This afternoon I was walking down High Road here in Bisbee. I was on my way home from a walk up on the canyon slope. The monsoon season is about over, but there are still towering cumulus clouds slowly sailing by.

I stopped when I encountered an Arizona Cypress tree growing in someone’s yard down below the road. The Arizona Cypress is native to the higher canyons in the Chiricuaha and Huachuca Mountains nearby and the conifer is commonly planted in Southeast Arizona towns.

The foliage of the species emanates an appealing musky-resinous odor. The fronds of scaly needles have a primitive look. Like all conifers this cypress was thriving long before the slow advent of flowering plants and their broad membranous leaves. I’m reminded of other primitive plants such as mosses, ferns, and liverworts. Cypress foliage side-lit by a low afternoon ray of sunlight:

The cones are about 1-1/4 inches in diameter, roughly spherical with almost-hexagonal facets. Soccer balls and geodesic domes come to mind. These cones are still green and will darken as they ripen over the winter:

I enjoy seeing these trees slowly transacting their reproductive business, a refreshing diversion from the trivial political squabbles so prevalent in this election year!


3 comments on “Cypress Encounter

  1. Bev Wigney says:

    I love the little cones of the Arizona Cypress, especially after they are dried out and open. They have a very odd look to them, as though they are some kind of outer space object fallen to earth.

  2. Larry says:

    Satellites with chlorophyll from an alien culture which practices bio-engineering, perhaps!

    One species account I read claimed that cypress cones often remain on the tree, unopened, for years, only expanding after a fire. An odd paper I read was from Iran, where three academics did structural tests on Arizona Cypress wood cut from thirty-year-old trees. They wanted to determine if the wood was suitable for stringed musical instrument soundboards (it is, they decided).

    I had no idea that Arizona Cypress has been planted in the Middle East!

  3. bev says:

    Interesting about the cones staying on the tree for years. They are certainly well attached and many look verg aged, as though they have been in place for quite some time. Well, isn’t that also interesting about the experiments with Arizona Cypress in the ME? maybe it would be worth looking for some down there. Really a shame that (as far as I know) nothing was done with the huge cypress trees that were cut down at the end of WC.

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