Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Cupressaceae

Scientific Name: Cupressus lusitanica
Species Authority: Mill.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Mexican Cypress, Cedar of Goa
Spanish Cedro Blanco, Cedro, Cedro Blanco del Deserto, Ciprés
Cupressus lindleyi Klotzsch ex Endl.
Hesperocyparis lusitanica (Mill.) Bartel
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: Two varieties are recognized for the IUCN Red List. The typical variety has a wide distribution from the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico south as far as Nicaragua. The second variety, var. benthamii, has a more limited distribution in southern Mexico. The epithet “lusitanica” [from Portugal] refers to the cultivated tree that provided the type specimen. This tree originated from Mexico.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-05-10
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
The great extent of occurrence of this species and its abundance in some forests places it well outside a category of threat.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mexico: from the Sierra Madre Occidental and S.M. Oriental down to Chiapas; highlands of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Countries occurrence:
Belize; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1000
Upper elevation limit (metres): 4000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This extremely widespread species is undoubtedly subject to logging and deforestation in several areas, but may also regenerate and invade secondary forest, so that  it is unclear whether it is decreasing or increasing in total.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Forming pure, dense stands or scattered in mixed montane conifer forest or pine forest, also in pine-oak forest and woodland, associated with Abies spp., Pinus ayacahuite, P. hartwegii, P. maximinoi, P. montezumae, P. patula, P. pseudostrobus, Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca, Juniperus spp., Quercus spp., Alnus spp., Clethra sp., Persea sp. and ericaceous and theaceous undershrubs; in disturbed (grazed) woodland with Arbutus sp., Baccharis sp., Buddleia sp., and Leucena sp. This species occurs on various usually nutrient-poor rocky soils over limestone or various igneous rocks; it is also spreading in scrub on rocky slopes or cliffs in canyons. The altitudinal range of this species is from ca. 1000 m to nearly 4000 m a.s.l.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 30

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Mexican Cypress is a valuable timber tree where it grows tall and straight, but not used extensively in its native range. It is planted as a 'village tree' throughout Mexico and Guatemala; it has also been introduced in many countries, especially in Andean South America and E Africa and to a limited extent in SE Asia, as a plantation forest tree. Still known in some quarters as the 'Cedar of Goa' its true provenance was long a mystery. The Portuguese had a colony of that name on the west coast of India and the species was first described from Portugal but later understood not to be native there. In horticulture several cultivars are known, while var. benthamii, with more flattened foliage sprays, is also being planted in countries with mild winters. The latter produces a narrowly conical habit in cultivation.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is undoubtedly subjected to logging and deforestation in certain parts of its range; however, it may also be increasing elsewhere as it is capable of expanding in secondary forest.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This widespread species is present in numerous protected areas.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Cupressus lusitanica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42221A2962663. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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