Coastal redwoods Sequoia sempervirens, copyright Acroterion.

Belongs within: Cupressophyta.
Contains: Taxodioideae, Callitroideae, Cupressoideae.

The conifer family Cupressaceae includes cypresses (Cupressus), junipers (Juniperus) and related taxa. The family has previously been divided between the Cupressaceae sensu stricto (with leaves opposite or whorled, comprising Callitroideae and Cupressoideae) and Taxodiaceae (with leaves mostly alternate), but the latter is now recognised as paraphyletic to the former and most recent authors combine the two. Many species are significant timber trees. The giant redwood Sequoiadendron giganteum is the world's largest (though not tallest) tree.

Members of the Cupressaceae include the east Asian genera Cunninghamia and Taiwania, both of which bear seed cones with thin, leathery scales; Cunninghamia has linear, tapering leaves whereas Taiwania has scale-like leaves. Both these genera have more extensive distributions in the fossil record, with close relatives of both known from Europe and North America.

Characters (from Watson & Eckenwalder): Trees or shrubs, evergreen (rarely deciduous), generally resinous and aromatic, monoecious (sometimes dioecious). Bark fibrous and furrowed (occasionally smooth or exfoliating in plates). Lateral branches well developed, similar to leading shoots, twigs terete, angled, or flattened dorsiventrally (with structurally distinct lower and upper surfaces), densely clothed by scalelike leaves or by decurrent leaf bases; longest internodes to 1 cm; buds usually undifferentiated and inconspicuous. Roots fibrous to woody (rarely bearing aboveground "knees"). Leaves simple, usually persisting 3-5 years and shed with lateral shoots (cladoptosic) (rarely shed annually), alternate and spirally arranged but sometimes twisted so as to appear 2-ranked, or opposite in 4 ranks, or whorled, deltate-scalelike to linear, decurrent, sessile or petioled; adult leaves appressed or spreading, often differing between lateral and leading shoots (twigs heterophyllous), sometimes strongly dimorphic on each twig with lateral scale-leaf pairs conspicuously keeled; juvenile leaves linear, flattened, spreading; often with solitary abaxial resin gland; resin canal present. Pollen cones maturing and shed annually, solitary, terminal (rarely in clusters of 2-5, axillary, or in terminal panicles), simple, spheric to oblong; sporophylls overlapping, bearing 2-10 abaxial microsporangia (pollen sacs); pollen spheric, not winged. Seed cones maturing in 1-2 seasons, shed with short shoots or persisting indefinitely on long-lived axes (rarely shattering at maturity), compound, solitary, terminal (rarely in clusters of 2-5 or axillary); scales overlapping or abutting, fused to subtending bracts with only bract apex sometimes free; each scale-bract complex peltate, oblong or cuneate, at maturity woody or fleshy, with 1-20 erect (rarely inverted with age), adaxial ovules. Seeds 1-20 per scale, not winged or with 2-3 symmetric or asymmetric wings; aril lacking; cotyledons 2-9.

Cupressaceae [Taxodiaceae, Taxodinae, Thujopsidae]
    |--Sewardiodendron laxum MM12
    |--Austrohamia MM12
    |    |--*A. minuta MM12
    |    `--A. acanthobractea MM12
    |--+--Cunninghamiostrobus yubariensis MM12
    |  |--Cunninghamites MM12
    |  |    |--C. elegans GT02
    |  |    `--C. lignitum MM12
    |  `--Cunninghamia [Cunninghamioideae] MM12
    |       |--C. hornbyensis MM12
    |       |--C. konishii MM12
    |       `--C. lanceolata MM12
    `--+--Taiwania [Taiwanioideae] MM12
       |    |--T. cretacea MM12
       |    |--T. cryptomerioides K02
       |    |--T. flousiana GT02
       |    `--T. schaeferi MM12
       `--+--Athrotaxidoideae MM12
          |    |--Athrotaxites berryi MM12
          |    `--Athrotaxis MM12
          |         |  i. s.: A. ungeri MM12
          |         |--A. cupressoides MM12
          |         `--+--A. laxifolia MM12
          |            `--A. selaginoides MM12
          `--+--+--Taxodioideae MM12
             |  `--+--Callitroideae MM12
             |     `--Cupressoideae MM12
             `--Sequoioideae MM12
                  |--Metasequoia MM12
                  |    |--M. foxii MM12
                  |    |--M. glyptostroboides MM12
                  |    |--M. milleri MM12
                  |    `--M. occidentalis MM12
                  `--+--Austrosequoia wintonensis MM12
                     |--Quasisequoia MM12
                     |    |--Q. couttsiae (Heer) Kunzmann 1999 (see below for synonymy) HL08
                     |    `--Q. florinii MM12
                     `--+--Sequoiadendron giganteum MM12
                        `--Sequoia MM12
                             |--S. ambigua GT02
                             |--S. carbonaria JD05
                             |--S. concinna GT02
                             |--S. gigantea H04
                             |--S. langsdorfi S89
                             |--S. reichenbachii MM12
                             `--S. sempervirens GT02

Cupressaceae incertae sedis:
  Geinitzia reichenbachii GT02
  Taxodioxylon gypsaceum JD05
  Cupressoconus rhenanus JD05
  Otakauia Pole 1995 P00
    |--*O. lanceolata P00
    `--O. macchatiensis Pole 2000 P00
  Cupressinoxylon (nom. cons.) JD05 [=Retinodendron (nom. rej.) S03]
    |--C. glyptostrobium JD05
    |--C. polonicum JD05
    |--C. ponderosum JD05
    `--C. sequoianum JD05
  Hughmillerites juddii MM12
  Elatides williamsonii MM12

Quasisequoia couttsiae (Heer) Kunzmann 1999 [=Sequoia couttsiae Heer 1862, Athrotaxis couttsiae (Heer) Gardner 1884] HL08

*Type species of generic name indicated


[GT02] Gomez, B., F. Thévenard, M. Fantin & L. Guisberti. 2002. Late Cretaceous plants from the Bonarelli Level of the Venetian Alps, northeastern Italy. Cretaceous Research 23: 671–685.

[H04] Haeckel, E. 1899–1904. Kunstformen der Natur. Bibliographisches Institut: Leipzig und Wien.

[HL08] Henniger, M., & R. Leder. 2008. Eozäne Makroflora der Querfurter Mulde. Mauritiana 20 (2): 229–251.

[JD05] Junge, F. W., M. Dolezych, H. Walther, T. Böttger, A. Kühl, L. Kunzmann, P. Morgenstern, T. Steinberg & R. Stange. 2005. Ein Fenster in Landschaft und Vegetation vor 37 Millionen Jahren: Lithologische, sedimentgeochemische und paläobotanische Befunde aus einem Paläoflusssystem des Weißelsterbeckens. Mauritiana 19 (2): 185–273.

[K02] Kvaček, Z. 2002. Novelties on Doliostrobus (Doliostrobaceae), an extinct conifer genus of the European Palaeogene. Časopis Národního Muzea, Řada Přírodovědná 171 (1–4): 47–62.

[MM12] Mao, K., R. I. Milne, L. Zhang, Y. Peng, J. Liu, P. Thomas, R. R. Mill & S. S. Renner. 2012. Distribution of living Cupressaceae reflects the breakup of Pangea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109 (20): 7793–7798.

[P00] Pole, M. S. 2000. Mid-Cretaceous conifers from the Eromanga Basin, Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 13 (2): 153–197.

[S03] Skog, J. E. 2003. Report of the Committee for Fossil Plants: 4. Taxon 52: 341.

[S89] Squinabol, S. 1889. Res Ligusticae. VII.—Cenno preliminare sulla flora fossile di Santa Giustina. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a 7: 73–76.

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