WSU Clark County Extension

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Port Orford Cedar

Scientific name: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Type:Coniferous trees
Plant Requirements
Zone:5 to 8
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:100 ft
Width:40 ft
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Port Orford Cedar is a majestic Northwest native that grows best under maritime conditions of northern California into southern Oregon in the Coast Range. It is best recognized for its massive thick trunk conical silhouette and blue-green foliage. Also known as Lawson Falsecypress.

This evergreen conifer grows from 60’-100’ feet tall and up to 40’ wide at maturity. It forms a narrow pyramidal tree featuring short upright branches and gently weeping tips.

Foliage consists of fern like leaves arranged in flattened sprays of blue-green needles with a spicy scent. Flattened frond-like twigs are arranged horizontally. The underside of the foliage displays distinct white "X" markings. Conversely, Western Red Cedar has “butterfly” shape on the underside of the leaves.

Male pollen cones form on the tips of the branchlets, and are ovate to oblong and dark brown to red at the time of pollen release in the late winter. Female flowers are green to blue-green, developing into round seed cones that are 1/3” across. Upon maturity they open and turn brown.

Brown, weathering to a gray-brown, mature bark is fibrous, ridged, deeply furrowed and may reach 4 to 8 inches thick near the base.

Port Orford Cedar can grow in either sun or partial shade. It must have a well drained site and shelter from strong winds.

Because of its size this conifer is best suited to larger landscapes such as parks, golf courses or estates.

Port Orford cedar is highly susceptible to root rot fungus, known as Phytophthora lateralis, which has limited the further spread of this tree in the Coastal Range. Only the best draining sites should be considered for Port Orford Cedar.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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