Cupressus funebris


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Cupressus funebris
Species Authority: Endl.
Common Name(s):
English Funereal Cypress, Chinese Weeping Cypress

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-13
Assessor(s): Xiang, Q., Christian, T. & Zhang, D
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
There is currently no way, without intensive fieldwork and study, to ascertain the true extent of wild populations and their conservation status due to the extent to which the species has been planted and subsequently naturalized across very large areas of central and southern China. The “natural habitat” referred to in the earlier assessment is unknown, therefore it is not possible to justify the Near Threatened category. It is just as likely that this species could be of Least Concern as it is that it could be Critically Endangered in the wild. Therefore it is assessed as Data Deficient until further information becomes available.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: China: S Gansu (?), Guizhou, W Hubei (?), W Hunan, Shaanxi (?), Chongqing; widely cultivated in Central and S China. From a survey of all herbarium specimens held at PE it appeared from locality notes on the (Chinese) labels that the majority of collections came from planted trees in villages, temple grounds, roadsides and the like. Outside the area in Central China indicated above, all records (including those held in other herbaria) are from such urban or cultivated localities. Within it many records are likewise from such places but in addition many indicate some form of secondary vegetation. Only 16 out of 133 (12%) records in PE are from forest locations, the natural habitat of this species. Their distribution is virtually restricted to N Guizhou, W Hunan and former E Sichuan (Chongqing) and this may indeed be the only area where the species occurs naturally at present.
China (Chongqing, Gansu - Present - Origin Uncertain, Guizhou, Hubei - Present - Origin Uncertain, Hunan, Shaanxi - Present - Origin Uncertain)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The extent (and indeed existence) of natural populations of Cupressus funebris is unknown at the current time.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species is found in mixed mountain forest or (degraded) woodland associated with Platycarya strobilacea, Vitex negundo, Ligustrum sp., Viburnum sp., Pittosporum sp., Myrsine africana, and Vitex negundo; in calcareous soil or in sandy loam over sandstone; also widely planted and probably invading into disturbed vegetation locally. The altitudinal range of this species is between 300 m and 2260 m a.s.l. The above information refers to the habitat of extant naturalized populations and cannot be reliably considered an accurate description of the species in its true wild state.

Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is widely planted in China as an ornamental, it is especially common in Buddhist temple grounds. Its wood is also considered valuable due to its durability and traditionally it was used for coffins for this reason. In Europe it is uncommon in cultivation and most of the older extant trees are based on seed collection by Ernest Wilson made in Hubei Province, China, in 1907. In horticulture it is often referred to as Chamaecyparis funebris due to the flattened foliage and small cones.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The wide distribution of this species cited in the Chinese literature (including Flora of China 4: 67. 1999) is to a large extent based on planted or introduced trees outside the indisputably wild populations. Occurrence in natural forests is rare due to widespread deforestation and alteration of natural vegetation in much of central China. The possibility of secondary establishment from cultivated trees outside its original range makes evaluation of threat to wild populations of this species extremely difficult. This species is not considered to be threatened, but its natural habitat (mixed conifer-angiosperm forest) certainly is.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is recorded from several protected areas; however it is uncertain if they are the result of introductions or naturalization.

Citation: Xiang, Q., Christian, T. & Zhang, D 2013. Cupressus funebris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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