Cypress — Cypress is the name applied to many plants in the conifer family Cupressaceae (cypress family). Most plants which bear the common name cypress are in the genera Cupressus and Chamaecyparis, but several other genera in the family also carry the name.
The Cupressaceae or cypress family is a conifer family with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27 to 30 genera (17 monotypic) with about 130-140 species. They are monoecious, subdioecious or (rarely) dioecious trees and shrubs from 1-116 m (3-379 ft) tall. The bark of mature trees is commonly orange- to red- brown and of stringy texture, often flaking or peeling in vertical strips, but smooth, scaly or hard and square-cracked in some species.
The leaves are arranged either spirally, in decussate pairs (opposite pairs, each pair at 90° to the previous pair) or in decussate whorls of 3 or 4, depending on the genus. On young plants, the leaves are needle-like, becoming small and scale-like on mature plants of many (but not all) genera; some genera and species retain needle-like leaves throughout their life. Old leaves are mostly not shed individually, but in small sprays of foliage (cladoptosis); exceptions are the leaves on shoots which develop into branches, which eventually fall off individually when the bark starts to flake. Most are evergreen with the leaves persisting 2-10 years, but three genera (Glyptostrobus, Metasequoia, Taxodium) are deciduous or include deciduous species.