Cupressaceae or cypress family.
The Cypress family now usually includes many previous Taxodiaceae genera.
A family of 27- 30 genera and 115 -150 species depending on the classification used.
Original genera include Actinostrobus, Callitris, Calocedrus, Chamaecyparis, Cupressus, Diselma,
Fitzroya, Fokienia, Juniperus, Libocedrus, Neocallitropsis, Pilgerodendron, Platycladus,
Tetraclinis, Thuja, Thujopsis and Widdringtonia.
With the old Taxodiaceae come Athrotaxis, Cryptomeria, Cunninghamia, Glyptostrobus, Metasequoia,
Microbiota, Sequoia, Sequoiadendron, Taiwania, Taxodium and Xanthocyparis.
All these are sometimes subdivided into 7 sub-families.
They have a widespread distribution and many are used as ornamentals especially junipers and cypresses.
Four genera with 22 species are native in Australia and one species in another genus is naturalised.
Genera are Actinostrobus, Athrotaxis, Callitris, Cupressus and Diselma.
There are a large number of hybrids, cultivars and varieties derived from non-native species grown in Australia
as ornamental plants and this makes identification more difficult – at least for me.
One gardening book has 17 Chamaecyparis, 3 Cryptomaria, 2 Cunninghamia, 11 Cupressus, 35 Juniperus and
3 Metasequoia species, varieties etc. that are grown in Australia.
Trees or shrubs, mostly evergreen (branchlets can be deciduous) with resin in their wood and leaves.
Bark is often red-brown and stringy but can be smooth or cracked into squares.
The lateral branches can be flattened to various degrees.
Descriptions of the leaf arrangements vary and include spiral; opposite (decussate); in whorls of 3 or 4.
Some leaves are spirally arranged but with twisted bases so they appear to be in ranks.
Short branchlets with opposite leaves can look like one pinnate leaf.
Juvenile leaves are needle-like.
The smaller adult leaves are scale-like, lie flattened on the stem and may overlap.
Many adult species only have adult leaves but some have both types and others just juvenile leaves.
Adult leaves may or may not have stalks.
Most plants have male and female cones on the same tree (usually separate trees in junipers).
Cones mostly woody or leathery but fleshy in junipers.
The small, terminal or axillary male cones are usually solitary.
Cone scales, opposite, deccusate or whorled (as the leaves) have 2 to 10 microsporangia.
Female cones, on the ends of the branches or short lateral shoots, are usually solitary.
Seed scales are opposite and decussate (alternate pairs at 90 degrees) or in whorls or 3 or 4
(the same arrangement as their leaves).
The bract scales are fused to the seed scales except at the tip which is seen as a small spine or umbo.
It looks as if the ovules are on the bract scales.
Each seed scale can have from 1 to 20 ovules depending on the species.
Seeds may or may not have wings.