Cupressus lusitanica var. benthamii 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Cupressaceae

Scientific Name: Cupressus lusitanica var. benthamii
Species Authority: (Endl.) Carrière
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Bentham's Cypress
Spanish Ciprés, Cedro Blanco, Sabina
Cupressus benthamii Endl.
Hesperocyparis benthamii (Endl.) Bartel
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: The differences with var. lusitanica pertain to growth form and habit; the pyramidal crown, more regular and flattened foliage sprays and slightly dimorphic scale leaves on (pen)ultimate branchlets are adaptations to cool, persistent humidity. They appear to have a genetic basis and are probably of selective value. However, the scattered distribution, often within populations of var. lusitanica with broad crowns and irregularly spreading or (sub)pendulous foliage, points at recurrent selection from variation within the C. lusitanica genome. No other consistent morphological differences could be observed, despite their mention in some taxonomic treatments (e.g. Martínez 1963, Gaussen 1968), a conclusion shared by Zanoni (1982).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-05-10
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Logging and forest depletion in the areas where this variety occurs has undoubtedly caused a reduction in quality of habitat and possibly area of occupancy (AOO), while mature trees are also probably in decline. However, due to uncertainties about extent and abundance, it is not possible to quantify these losses, but they are likely to exceed 20% over the past three generations. The taxon is therefore assessed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion A2cd.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1998 Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mexico: Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, México, Puebla, Veracruz; probably scattered in forests with var. lusitanica elsewhere.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, México State, Puebla, Veracruz)
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Number of Locations: 10
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1500
Upper elevation limit (metres): 4000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This variety appears to occur predominantly within or near to stands of var. lusitanica and rarely to form pure stands, or subpopulations. The population trend is unknown due to uncertainty about its distribution, the amount of logging and its regeneration success.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Commonly scattered in mixed montane conifer forest or pine forest, associated with Abies spp., Pinus ayacahuite, P. hartwegii, P. montezumae, P. patula, P. pseudostrobus, Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca, Quercus spp., Alnus spp., Clethra sp., Persea sp. and ericaceous and theaceous undershrubs. This variety tends to occupy mountain slopes exposed to high precipitation. Its altitudinal range is between 1500 and 4000 m a.s.l.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 30

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This variety is used as an ornamental tree.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The total extent and abundancy of this variety is incompletely known. It is certainly much more scattered than var. lusitanica and seems to be absent in the Central American part of the species' range. It could therefore be more vulnerable to logging and general forest depletion should these trends affect the species as a whole.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Some stands of var. benthamii are within protected areas, e.g. Mt. Orizaba National Park in Veracruz/Puebla, Mexico.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Unknown
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Farjon, A. 2005. A Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK Available at:

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Cupressus lusitanica var. benthamii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T34082A2844202. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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