Santa Cruz Cypress - Hesperocyparis abramsiana var. abramsiana
A rare cypress, this species is endemic to the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Typically a small tree, old specimens can approach 100 feet in height. The scalelike leaves are short, green to yellowish-green in color; young trees have longer needles. The bark is stringy and fibrous. The oval cones are up to an inch in diameter with several scales. They typically remain closed on the tree until the heat of a fire opens them. This species is dependent on fire for successful germination. There are two subspecies, separated by about 20 miles in their native range.