Cupressus chilensis Gillies ex Hook.
Cupressus thujoides Pav. ex Carrière
Libocedrus chilensis (D.Don) Endl.
Libocedrus excelsa Gordon
Thuja andina Poepp.
Thuja chilensis D.Don
Thuja cuneata Dombey ex Endl.
Common Name: Cipres
Austrocedrus chilensis is an evergreen tree with a dense, narrow, pyramidal crown; it can grow up to 20 metres tall[
]. The straight, slightly conical bole can be up to 150cm in diameter, it often branches from quite low down, though boles up to 10 metres long have been recorded[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its wood. It has sometimes been harvested on a commercial basis, though only local exploitation is occurring at present(2017).
Austrocedrus chilensis is a long-lived conifer species capable of living for up to 1,500 years. It has many present-day threats including harmful pathogens, grazing, habitat loss through natural or human-set fires, invasive non-native tree species, establishment of plantation trees and hydroelectric schemes. Even though it has an estimated area of occupancy of 1,860 km2 which is within the 2,000 km2 threshold for listing as Vulnerable, for the majority of its global distribution, of which 75% occurs in Argentina, there is no net loss of individuals due to good regeneration after disturbance. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
S. America - southern and central Chile, southern Argentina
Mixed forests, sometimes forming pure stands, growing on a range of soils, sometimes in more xeric conditions than those tolerated by rainforest species, sometimes along rocky, river margins[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Austrocedrus chilensis is found mainly in the Andes of Chile and Argentina at latitudes from 32 - 43° south[
]. It is said to be ale to tolerate occasionall temperatures falling to around -8°c, and occasional snow cover. It tolerates drier areas with an annual rainfall of 400 - 800mm (mainly in the winter) and a dry season of 3 - 5 months, though it also grows in more humid areas with year round rainfall up to 1,500mm329].
An easily grown tree, growing best in a sunny position in a well-drained, preferably slightly acid soil[
]. It is found wild in a wide range of soils that can vary from very poor, even rocks in steep slopes, to plane and shallow clayish soils in the valleys or deep soils of volcanic ash. It grows best on wet, deep soils in the wild[
Trees often grow gregariously, forming small, almost pure stands. Natural regeneration is generally good[
This is generally a moderately slow-growing species[
A long-lived tree, specimens up to 1,500 years old have been recorded[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
The heartwood is a pale reddish-brown; the narrow band of sapwood is yellowish-white in colour. The texture is fine and even; the grain straight; growth rings are distinct, producing a mild figure on back-sawn surfaces. The wood works easily with hand or machine tools, with very little dulling effect on cutting edges; it cuts cleanly in most operations provided that sharp cutters are used; it is difficult to bore a clean hole unless exit is supported; stock must be pre-bored for nailing and screwing; stains and polishes satisfactorily. Most commonly used in the round, it is suitable for moulding and peeling[
]. The wood was historically used for construction and making furniture. It is fragrant and has a durable quality suitable for outdoor use (panelling and outdoor furniture)[
The wood is a good fuel[
Seed - requires a period of cold stratification and so is best sown in the autumn and placed in a cold frame. Stored seed can be mixed with moist sand and then stored in a plastic bag in a refrigerater at 2 - 5°c for 30 - 90 days prior to sowing[
]. Sow the seed in a container, pricking out the seedlinds into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on until the plants are around 20 - 30cm tall before planting them in their permanent positions.