Northwest Conifers

Modoc Cypress – Cupressus bakeri Speaker


Modoc Cypress at Hoyt Arboretum


USGS Distribution Map

Leaves: Scaled, white resin dots

Cones: up to 0.8", round

Bark: Brown, smooth, then peeling

Where:  Rare in southwest Oregon


Leaves: The tiny scaled leaves, which wrap around branchlets, are gray-green with gland dots that produce a white resin. 

Cones: 0.5 - 0.8", round with 6 or 8 scales and resin blisters. The cones often remain closed until a wildfire releases the seeds.

Bark: The smooth, red-brown bark becomes peeling and then gray on larger trees.

Where it grows: This rare cypress grows in a few isolated sites in southwest Oregon and northern California. It grows farther north than any other cypress in North America. The most northern site is at Flounce Rock, northeast of Medford.  See Cypress Species in Oregon by Frank Callahan.

Names: Named after Calfornia plant explorer Milo Baker, who discovered the species in 1898. The tree is native to the land of the Modoc people. Other common names: Baker Cypress, Siskiyou Cypress. Recently some have proposed removing North American cypresses from Cupressus and placing them in a new genus, Hesperocyparis. Others have argued for keeping North American cypresses in Cupressus. For more information, see The Gymnosperm Database.




Pollen cone


© 2012 Ken Denniston