Common Name(s): Monterey Cypress
Scientific Name: Cupressus x leylandii
Distribution: Originated as a hybrid in Wales, UK; no natural range
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 31 lbs/ft3 (500 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .41, .50
Janka Hardness: 430 lbf (1,890 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 12,000 lbf/in2 (82.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 989,000 lbf/in2 (6.82 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 5,510 lbf/in2 (38.0 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.8%, Tangential: 6.7%, Volumetric: 9.6%, T/R Ratio: 2.4
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, Leyland Cypress has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Not commonly seen for sale in lumber form, most cultivated trees are used for nursery stock.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (Since it’s only a hybrid with no natural range, it’s unsuitable to be considered for conservation.)
Common Uses: Utility lumber, fence posts, musical instruments (flamenco guitars), furniture, boatbuilding, and turned objects.
Comments: What began as an accidental hybridization in the mid 1800s in Wales has grown into a lucrative (and sometimes despised) nursery stock tree. Leyland Cypress is a hybrid between Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis). It’s a fast-growing, adaptive tree that’s commonly used in the United Kingdom for hedges—though its fast growth rate means that it has caused numerous disputes between neighbors over thickly shadowing trees along property lines.
- Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)
- Gowen Cypress (Cupressus goveniana)
- Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- Mexican Cypress (Cupressus lusitanica)
- Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)