An evergreen tree attaining 160 ft in height in the wild, with a slender crown, but forming in cultivation a small bushy tree; bark reddish, shed in longitudinal strips. Leaves arranged in whorls of three, oblong or slightly obovate, 1⁄8 in long (longer in young trees), decurrent at the base, the upper part spreading, often thickened and keeled beneath, dark green, with two bands of stomata on each surface. Cones globose, 1⁄3 in. wide, (see further in the introductory note). Bot. Mag., t. 4616.
Native of Chile and bordering parts of Argentina from just south of Valdivia to the Island of Chiloe and in the main cordillera (where the finest remaining stands are to be found) from Lake Todos los Santos to about 43° S. It occurs above the beech forests at 2,500 to 3,000 ft, where the climate is cool, cloudy and excessively rainy; sea-level stands once existed near Puerto Montt but these were felled in the early days of settlement. It was introduced by William Lobb in 1849, when collecting for Messrs Veitch.
In nature, F. cupressoides makes a tall tree, living to an age of 3,000 years and yielding a valuable timber similar to that of the redwood. In this country, although much hardier than was once supposed, it has grown slowly, as the following records show (earlier measurements are added, where available): Killerton, Devon, pl. 1864, 341⁄2 × 31⁄4 ft (1911), now 60 × 61⁄4 ft at 4 ft (1970); Woodhouse, Devon, 39 × 41⁄4 ft (1970); Bicton, Devon, 35 ft (1911), now 48 × 43⁄4 ft (1968); Pencarrow, Cornwall, pl. 1882, 21 ft (1902), now 30 × 31⁄2 ft at 4 ft (1957); Scorrier, Cornwall, pl. 1868, 50 × 51⁄4 ft (1959); Borde Hill, Sussex, pl. c. 1930, 33 × 13⁄4 ft (1961); Leonardslee, Sussex, 34 × 21⁄4 ft (1962); Strone, Cairndow, Argyll, 58 × 61⁄2 ft, branching into three stems at 51⁄2 ft (1969). In Eire there are many specimens of about the same size as the largest English ones, of which the most noteworthy are: Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, pl. 1869, 44 × 53⁄4 ft (1967); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, 41 × 71⁄2 ft (1967); Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, 42 × 71⁄4 ft (1967).
It is easily propagated by cuttings taken in late summer.