Baker’s cypress only grows in 11 widely scattered locations in the Klamath-Siskiyou and Cascade Mountain ranges in southern Oregon and northern California. It has the northernmost range of any native cypress in the world. Baker’s cypress is most often found growing on serpentine soils in the wild, but not exclusively, and it takes well to variety of soils in the horticultural setting. Baker’s cypress typically grows in mixed conifer forests, chaparral, pine forests, or open serpentine habitat, and is usually found in small, scattered populations at elevations between 2,000-6,500′.
Baker’s cypress has evergreen, scale-like needles with distinctive resin dots and bluish-green, glaucous, and aromatic foliage. The foliage is airy and the branches are often crooked. The rounded cones are bumpy with hook-like umbos. When trees are young they will have smooth, silvery bark, but when they are older the bark separates into long, thin scales with age and becomes more reddish-brown and flaky.
Some people also call this species Siskiyou cypress or Modoc cypress. It is a member of the cypress (Cupressaceae) plant family.
This species is highly fire adapted. In locations, such as the Seiad-Baker Cypress Botanical Area on the Klamath National Forest, where the stands have had repeat hot fire, the Baker’s cypress population has been expanding, but in other groves where human fire suppression has not allowed fire to burn through in a very long time, the populations are not expanding. Baker’s cypress’ serotinous cones are most often opened during wildfire, when heat melts the resins and opens the cones and releases the seed.
Grow in full sun to part-shade with dry to medium soil moisture. Baker’s cypress can take regular summer water, and will grow faster because of it, as long as the soil has good drainage; however, it can tolerate extremely dry conditions as well, but will grow slower on dry sites. It typically grows 20-100′ tall, depending on site conditions.
This species is deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Baker’s cypress is rare in the wild, so we do not collect seeds from wild populations. These seeds were collected from nursery grown trees that were planted either as part of a roadside revegetation project after the construction of Applegate Reservoir in the early 1980s, or horticultural trees grown locally in the Applegate Valley.
Baker’s cypress (Hesperocyparis bakeri) seed packets contain approximately 60 seeds per packet.
Seed Germination Instruction
30 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall to early winter.
Sow seeds in pots or direct sow outside in fall with a light dusting of soil over the seeds and let nature do the stratification naturally outside if you have cold enough winters. If you live in an area with mild winters, you may need to provide the cold-moist stratification artificially. For more information please read through the information in our Seed Germination and Propagation Reference Guide.