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PORT ORFORD CEDAR

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Cupressaceae

PORT ORFORD CEDAR is a large, shade tolerant, tree, sometimes to 200 feet in height, which grows from lower elevations to 5,000 feet in its limited range in northwest California and southwest Oregon, primarily the Klamath River drainage. There is a smaller, inland distribution, including some that grow in Castle Crags State Park.

 

Port Orford cedar can live for 600 years. It is commercially valuable for the light, strong aromatic wood, and has been purchased by the Japanese for shrines, temples, and more.

Port Orford cedar is suffering the onslaught of a root-rotting fungus (Phytophthora lateralis), that kills it. Due to its limited geographic range and the destructive effects of the fungus, it is rare and endangered, but, curiously, many cultivars also exist.

Excellent old-growth stands along Clear Creek in the northern California Siskiyou Wilderness often show clear, straight trunks like these.

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This beautiful bowl was crafted by Joe Dahl from a Port Orford cedar that was removed from the Regional Parks Botanic Garden near Berkeley, CA.

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Port Orford cedar at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden near Berkeley, CA,

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Underside of leaves showing "x" pattern of

stomatal bands

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Seed cones in July

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Seed cones and pollen cones in October