Common Name(s): Gowen Cypress
Scientific Name: Cupressus goveniana
Distribution: Endemic to coastal California
Tree Size: 30-50 ft (9-16 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 30 lbs/ft3 (480 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .40, .48
Janka Hardness: 570 lbf (2,520 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 8,250 lbf/in2 (56.9 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 653,000 lbf/in2 (4.50 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 3,680 lbf/in2 (25.4 MPa)
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a pale yellowish or reddish brown. Narrow sapwood is paler and usually clearly demarcated from the heartwood.
Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, though small knots are sometimes present, creating a more irregular grain pattern. Fine, uniform texture with a good natural luster.
Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition gradual, color contrast low to medium; tracheid diameter small to medium; parenchyma diffuse.
Rot Resistance: Rated as moderately durable; mixed resistance to insect attack.
Workability: Overall easy to work with hand and machine tools, though areas around knots can be problematic. Reportedly difficult to steam bend. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: Most cypresses in the Cupressus genus have a distinct, fragrant scent.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Gowen Cypress has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Because of its small size and very limited distribution, Gowen Cypress isn’t used for lumber commercially. Availability is likely to be limited to specialty/hobbyist projects outside of the tree’s natural range.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population estimate numbering under 10,000 mature trees (which continues to decline), and because of a severely fragmented population. Gowen Cypress has also been protected under the United States’ Endangered Species Act since 1998.
Common Uses: Not generally used for lumber; other closely-related cypresses have been used for utility lumber, fence posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), furniture, boatbuilding, and turned objects.
Comments: Gowen Cypress is a very small tree (sometimes shrub-sized) that is endemic to coastal California and is considered endangered within its natural range. Often, it is found in association with Monterey Cypress.
- Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)
- Leyland Cypress (Cupressus x leylandii)
- Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- Mexican Cypress (Cupressus lusitanica)
- Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
Scans/Pictures: There are currently no pictures of this exact wood species, but a similar species within the Cupressus genus is being substituted (C. macrocarpa). If you’d like to contribute a wood sample of this specific species to be scanned, (even small pieces of veneer can be sent), please use the contact form.