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Useful Temperate Plants

Fitzroya cupressoides

(Molina) I.M.Johnst.

Cupressaceae

+ Synonyms

Cupresstellata patagonica (Hook.f. ex Lindl.) J.Nelson

Fitzroya patagonica Hook.f. ex Lindl.

Libocedrus cupressoides (Molina) Kuntze

Pinus cupressoides Molina

Common Name: Alerce

No Image.

General Information

Fitzroya cupressoides is an evergreen tree with a slender crown; it can grow 40 - 45 metres tall, though it is often much smaller in cultivation. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 120cm in diameter and free of branches for up to 25 metres[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
].
The tree yields a valuable timber, for which it has been heavily exploited since Europeans arrived in S. America. Many lowland stands have been extirpated and, although the tree is officially protected in many areas, it still continues to be exploited. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
There has been an estimated reduction in the quality of habitat across this plant's total range of more than 50% during the last three generations, which is suspected to equate to a population reduction of 50% over that time period. In Chile, where most of the population occurs, this is very evident in the Coastal Cordillera where most of the Alerce forests comprise secondary forest that is the result of fire, logging and damage to trees from bark stripping for caulking purposes. The majority of the Andean forests been impacted in similar ways. The decline in habitat quality is ongoing as illegal logging continues and deliberately set fires re-occur. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - central Chile, southwestern Argentina.

Habitat

Found in a range of forest types, usually in boggy ground at lower elevations, though also found in well-drained soils at higher and cooler elevations with high atmospheric humidity[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]

Properties

Conservation StatusEndangered
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Fitzroya cupressoides is found at elevations from sea level to around 1,500 metres - the mean annual rainfall in these regions varies from 2,000 - 4,000 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
This species dislikes soils that dry out rapidly, preferring an acid soil with a pH around 5[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It grows best in humid conditions, especially on north facing slopes or in the shelter of a woodland edge[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It dislikes cold drying winds[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. In the wild, the plant usually grows on poorly drained young soils derived from volcanic ash. At low and middle elevations, it occurs on poorly drained sandy soils, rich in organic matter, with a low pH and a high Carbon/Nitrogen rate. At higher elevations (800- 1,200 metres) it grows on insipid soils, also derived from volcanic ash, but sandy well drained and infertile[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
A very ornamental tree[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
], it is much hardier in Britain than was once thought[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Generally a very slow growing tree in Britain but young plants can grow 30cm a year and growth can continue until October[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
]. A very slow growing and long-lived tree in its native habitat[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], probably to 3000 years or more, but trees are unlikely to survive that long in Britain[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants grow best in the mild and damp maritime climate of south-west and west Britain[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants can be monoecious or dioecious, though they are more often dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is to be produced, though there is a report that trees rarely produce fertile seed in Britain[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]..

Throughout its range Fitzroya grows in a range of forest types. For instance in Chile, at elevations greater than 800 m it is often associated with Nothofagus betuloides, while at mid-elevations of from 500-800 m it grows with Nothofagus nitida, Pilgerodendron uviferum, Podocarpus nubigenus and Tepualia stipularis. At low elevations of between 40 and 500 m Fitzroya is uncommon and typically it grows as a large tree in the Valdivian rainforest with Amomyrtus luma, Drimys winteri, Laureliopsis philippiana, Saxegothaea conspicua and Weinmannia trichosperma (Hechenleitner et al. 2006).
This is a very long-lived, slow growing tree with records of it living to more than 3,600 years old (Lara and Villalba 1993). It is dioecious species or ocasionally monoecius (Rodríguez et al. 1983). Inter-annual seed production is highly variable, with 5-7 years periods of low to no production and viability is also usually low (Donoso 1995). In the Chilean Andes most Fitzroya-dominated forests have originated following large-scale disturbance such as volcanic ash depositions, lava flows and landlslides. It can resprout from roots or low branches (Veblen and Ashton 1982).

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used for caulking boats and ships, and also for insulation purposes[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].

The heartwood is brownish red; it is sharply demarcated from the narrow band of light-coloured sapwood. The texture is fine and uniform; the grain straight and usually close; there is no distinctive odour or taste. The wood is light in weight, very durable, including in fresh water, showing resistance to attack by white- rot and brown-rot fungi. It is reported to season readily with little or no degrade. It works easily in all hand and machine operations; cutters must be kept sharp to get a smooth finish on end grain; it is easy to glue and finish; takes paints and varnish very well. The wood is easily split to produce shakes, and is also used for shingles, general construction, pencil slats, musical instruments, vats and tanks, lumber cores, and furniture components[
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
]. A first-class joinery wood of excellent quality, it resembles California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].
The wood makes a good fuel[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].

Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once they have reached a height of at least 30cm, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cuttings, late summer, in a sandy soil in a frame[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-13. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Fitzroya+cupressoides>

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