Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English:Mexican cypress, Cypress, Cedar of Goa, Mexican cypress, Kenya cypress.

+ Tree Species

Cupressus lusitanica

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Mexican cypress is native to Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. It is found in seasonally moist to permanently moist climates, with annual precipitation typically between 1000 and 1500 mm and a dry season lasting not more than 2-3 months. It also occurs in very moist climates with annual precipitation up to 4000 mm. A fast-growing tree widely used in East and Southern Africa and grown in plantations in many areas; introduced to Uganda, 1,100-3,000 m. At higher altitudes the tree tends to be invasive. In Kampala, Mexican cypress can be found within Makerere university, Uganda Golf course club, Kitante courts, along Kololo hill lane, Lumumba avenue among other places.

+ Description

An evergreen tree to 35 m with straight trunk, generally conical but irregular in shape, the branches hang down with branchlets in all directions.

BARK: red-brown with vertical grooves, grey with age.

LEAVES: dull blue-green, the tiny leaves in 4 ranks, with spreading pointed tips.

FLOWERS: male flowers small, oblong or cylindrical; female subglobose, very small, composed of 6-14 fertile decussate scales with several ovules each.

FRUIT: male cones like fat tips to branchlets, producing clouds of yellow pollen dust; female cones ripen in two years, rounded, 1.5 cm across, brown, the cone scales with central, pointed projections. About 75 winged seeds are released from beneath the cone scales.

+ Uses

C. lusitanica is a good source of firewood.

A source of construction wood and pulp wood and is used for furniture.

Provides poles and posts.

Agroforestry: suitable as windbreaks, can be grown as a live fence.

An ornamental tree.

Provides wood which is suitable for light flooring, ship and boat building, vehicle bodies, agricultural implements, boxes and crates, interior trim, joinery, toys and novelties, turnery, draining boards, veneer and plywood, hardboard and particle board.

The wood is used for paper making.

Essential oil from the leaves, twigs and branches of the tree is used as an adjuvant and perfume in soaps, room sprays, deodorants and other products.

It is used for making toothbrushes and brooms.

Medicine: leaves, leaf sap, bark, and essential oil from the leaves. https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Cupressus_lusitanica_(PROTA)

+ Propagation

Seeds, wildings, root cuttings.

+ Management

It s fast growing on good sites and moderate on poorer sites. It can be trimmed as a hedge. Pruning of trees in woodlots to be used for timber.

+ Remarks

Can produce poles after 10 years, general purpose timber after 20 years. Not good for intercropping. From 1990 it was severely attacked by the cypress aphid: one of the signs is branches turn yellow and later dry out. However, some trees have recovered better than others possibly indicating genetic differences. In Uganda, this menace seems to have been less severe than in some neighboring countries.

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