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Tree (SFNSW 2002).


Cones (SFNSW 2002).


Distribution of Callitris glaucophylla (Bowman and Harris 1995). Basemap from Expedia Maps. You can also create a highly detailed map, and access specimen data, using the "search" function at the Australia Virtual Herbarium.

Additional photos are at Wikimedia Commons.


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Conservation status

Callitris glaucophylla

Thompson et Johnson 1986

Common names

White cypress pine (Wunderlin 1993), northern cypress pine.

Taxonomic notes

"This species is sometimes united with the eastern coastal Callitris columellaris F. Mueller under that name or distinguished at varietal rank (var. campestris Silba). The names C. glauca R. Brown ex R. T. Baker & H. G. Smith and C. hugelii (Carrière) Franco have been applied erroneously to it" (Wunderlin 1993). It hybridizes with the subspecies of C. preissii (Harden 1990).


Shrubs or trees to 30 m high, with a single trunk. Bark brown, rough and furrowed. Leaves in whorls of 3 (sometimes 4 or 5 when juvenile), usually glaucous (bluish grey), juvenile leaves 7-8 mm, mature leaves 1-3 mm long with apex broadly acute, dorsal surface not keeled. Pollen cones cylindric-oblong, 5-10 ⨰ 2-5 mm. Seed cones solitary, rarely remaining on the plant long after maturity; depressed-globose to ovoid, 1.2-2.5 cm diam., dark brown; peduncle 7-8 mm; scales thin, often with a very small dorsal point, indistinctly dentate along margin, separating almost to base when mature, alternate scales short and narrow, larger ones angled into a wide sharp apex, spreading widely at maturity, columella usually slender and <5 mm long, occasionally to 7 mm long, sometimes thick and angled. Seeds 4-5 mm, chestnut brown (Harden 1990, Wunderlin 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

Australia: all mainland States. "Widespread, found mostly on sandy soils, from isolated individuals to extensive forests, especially in inland districts" (Harden 1990). Extensive forests are only found in the Tambo-Dalby-Inglewood region of southern Queensland and the Baradine-Narrabri and Cobar districts of northern New South Wales (RIC 1999). These forests are found in the Murray-Darling Basin. The basin only receives annual rainfall of 300 to 650 mm, periodic flooding inhelps to support the productive Callitris forests. The Pilliga State Forest, located north of Coonabarabran NSW, is the only large area in the Murray-Darling Basin that has naturally regenerated from sparse open woodland to forest over the period of European settlement. This is essentially due to the elimination of Aboriginal burning and livestock grazing. By the early 1900s, the elimination of burning was resulting in very dense growths of C. glaucophylla, and the area now has the largest expanse of inland plains forest in Australia. The Pilliga is approximately 430,000 hectares of which Australian Cypress covers about 80% (MDBI [no date]). With the exception of the Pilliga forest, C. glaucophylla is not found in large, pure stands; it grows best in open woodlands with Eucalyptus and other species (NFI 1998). This may be partly because of allelopathy; each tree puts out an exudate through its roots and leaves that inhibits the growth and dominance of its neighbors (RIC 1999).

Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001). Naturalized in USA: Florida: Brevard, Indian River, Orange, and Seminole counties at 0-10 m elevation, where it occurs in sand pine scrub and thickets (Wunderlin 1993).

Big tree

The largest tree known in habitat is a tree called "Old Grey" in Kerringle State Forest, NSW. In 2010 it was measured at 97 cm dbh and 23.0 m tall, and was estimated at 300 years of age (National Register of Big Trees 2012).

A specimen in Bradenton, Florida has a height of 18 m, a dbh of 146 cm, and a crown spread of 9 m (American Forests 1996).


See Big tree, above.



Callitris glaucophylla is currently the most economically important Callitris species (Christiansen 2000). Probably the most abundant species, it supports a commercial harvest of about 250,000 m3/yr in New South Wales and Queensland (National Forest Inventory 2005). The presence of natural substances in the wood (resin, guajol and callitrol) give the timber exceptional decay resistance. Callitrol is a phenolic compound that imparts a camphor-like odour to the wood (Christiansen 2000). Applications include flooring, paneling, cladding, joinery, frameworks, posts, small poles, and beehive construction. The wood, although somewhat brittle, can be turned and machined reasonably well, and it has high dimensional stability after it is seasoned. The sawdust can irritate the mucous membranes in some people (TBIA 2002).


This is one of the more widely distributed species in the genus. Fairly extensive sands can be found amid great scenery at Flinders Ranges National Park, Snowy River National Park, and Terrick Terrick National Park.



Christiansen, D.L. 2000. Australian cypress. INTAD., accessed 2002.01.18. This site has quite a variety of information on commercial uses of Callitris wood, lists common names for many of the species, and has several links to photographs.

[MDBI] Murray-Darling Basin Initiative. [no date]. Forestry., accessed 2002.01.22, now defunct.

[NFI] National Forest Inventory. 1998. National Forest Inventory Australia: Callitris Forest, accessed 1999, now defunct.

National Register of Big Trees. 2012. Tree Register: National Registry of Big Trees., accessed 2012.06.23.

[RIC] Rainforest Information Centre. 1999. RIC Good Wood Guide, "Australian Native Timbers.", accessed 1999, now defunct.

[SFNSW] State Forests of New South Wales. 2002. State Forests of NSW: Kids & Schools: Wild Forest Adventure: Woodwork: White Cypress., accessed 2002.03.03, now defunct.

Thompson and Johnson (1986).

[TBIA] Timber Building in Australia. 2002. Species detail: white cypress pine.Timber Research Unit, School of Architecture, University of Tasmania., accessed 2002.01.22, now defunct.

Wunderlin, Richard P. at the Flora of North America web page.

See also

Bowman, D.M.J.S. and P.K. Latz. 1993. Ecology of Callitris glaucophylla (Cupressaceae) on the MacDonnell Ranges, Central Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 41(2):217.

Ongoing investigations into the genetics and natural history of this species are reported in the Callitris Newsletter,, now defunct.

Last Modified 2012-11-30