Identification: Help Identifying Chamaecyparis Please?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by JerryRaack, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. JerryRaack

    JerryRaack Active Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    About 5 years ago, I bought 2 Chamaecyparis with a slight variegation in them. They have grown rapidly for me here in the Columbus, Ohio area so that they are now about 6 1/2 to 7 foot tall. I did not know what they were when I purchased them, but I really like them. They are extremely cold hardy and deer resistant. Can someone point me in the direction to identify what they might be?
     

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  2. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  3. JerryRaack

    JerryRaack Active Member

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    I've looked at all the Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Mariesii' pictures I could find on the web, and they really do not remind me of what I am growing. I believe Mariesii has much more white variegation than my plants, and the foliage appears to be quite different. In fact, I've looked at all the Chamaecyparis pictures on the Iseli website and on this website and can't seem to find a match. But thanks for the suggestion.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can you add a hi-res close-up of two shoots, one showing the top side, the other the under side, please?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  6. JerryRaack

    JerryRaack Active Member

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    Ron,
    THANKS! I believe you have nailed it! I've looked at a number of web pages having pictures of Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Snow' and it really does match the plant I am growing. And, the size works. Both, spring/summer and winter foliage (http://www.robsplants.com/plants/ChamaPisSN.php) seem to match. Now, as the person in the website I have sited says, I may have to move one or both to make room for them to reach maturity. I unfortunately underestimated how large these would get, and especially, so quickly! I heartily recommend these plants. I am in Zone 5 in the Columbus, Ohio area, but live in a dense mature beech and oak forest. Therefore, I don't get much if any wind. Hence, I grow a number of solidly Zone 6 plants with ease. It depends on whether they are absolute temperature limited, or wind-chill (dessication) limited by zone. Again, thanks to all of you for your help! I did take a closeup of one of the branchlets today (cold outside at 20 degrees). Here they are top and bottom.
     
  7. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    link to ACS database:

    http://www.coniferbase.com/conifer_db/

    add SNOW tot eh cultivar line ....

    the first pic is extreme at the ACS ..... the others more consistent with mine in my z5 adrian mi .... also look at the listed growth rate... and if you are getting more than 6 inches per year .... you have further ID issues

    i know its winter ... and the plant tends to green up ... but yours shows no indication of enough white consistent with the named cultivar.... IMHO ....

    mine was softball sized when i got it in 2003.. it is now.. barely bigger than a soccer ball .... your growth rate doesnt seem correct for a plant that has so much white for half the growing year, in z5 .... white tissue is a negative on plant vigor .... producing no chlorophyll, and ergo, being a drain on the plant in general ... also lending it to some burn in a hard winter .... both of which lead to its reduced growth rate ..

    add to that.. you are growing in what sounds like a lot of shade ... which would further reduce vigor... though it would also make the plant greener ....

    so with two strikes against its vigor.. i see no way that the named plant can be so vigorous in your garden ...

    perhaps if you can snap a pic in spring, after first flush.. i will change my mind if there is a lot of white... but otherwise.. i just dont see yours as 'snow' ...

    all that said.. chams are one of the easier to root .... if you are interested in more of your specific plant... you might be better off trying to root some .. avoiding the name issue all together ....

    i will try to figure out how to post pix when i have more time ...

    good luck on your quest

    ken
     
  8. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    hey

    it was easier than expected.. go figure ....

    this plant is in near full sun ....

    OK.. its a big soccer ball ... lol .. regardless.. its not as big as yours .... beachball???

    the important thing is the growth rate ... i suppose you could have started with a 6 to 8 foot plant .... but the close ups seem to show much greater growth than i am getting .... but if you started that big.. transplant shock plus the white tissue would further reduce establishment and the growth rate ...

    the last three pix were taken july 22, 2009 .. the first nov. 2008 ... not all that much growth in spring of 2009 ....

    ken
     

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  9. JerryRaack

    JerryRaack Active Member

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    Ken,
    I fully understand what you are saying about the amount of white on my plant, the size and growth rate. I had a discussion the other day with Bill Hendricks, owner of Klyn Nurseries in Madison, Ohio (commercial nursery). Bill is a guru on Chamaecyparis in these parts, and his nursery propagates and sells a lot of those that are hardy to zones 5 and 6. (I did NOT get my plant from his nursery though. It came from another "local" source which shall not be named.)
    The gist of the discussion is that there appear to be 2 distinct forms in the trade under the name of 'Snow' (which should not happen). One of the forms acts as you have stated. It is very white, grows very slowly and stays very compact and is a devil of a plant to keep growing nicely in nurseries in my part of the USA. This is the softball to small beachball size reference type plant you cited.
    The second form acts like the one that I have. The new growth is white, it grows at a much faster rate, gets larger in size (easily to 8 foot, which is the height of my plants), grows more laxly and tends to lose the variegation in the cold of our winters. When new growth flushes this year, I'll take a good photo and post it on this discussion so you can see for yourself what it looks like.

    In fact, the ACS website posts the following information about Cham. p. 'Snow' on their website:

    "Dwarf bun shaped bush with mossy, blue-grey foliage tipped with white. Has a tendency to burn in full sun or cold wind. If planted in shade can become more open growing and less attractive. Also known as 'Squarrosa Snow' and 'Mikko'.

    Requires partial shade and protection from winter winds.

    Care must be exersized when selecting a specimen. There are many variations in the growth habit many due to poor propagation practices. I have seen selections with much more growth than desirable for this clone."


    You can see pictures of both forms on the ACS site and other web sites, both with the name Cham. p. 'Snow' attached to them. I would be OK with only the smaller, whiter, more compact size being labeled as 'Snow', but the other form needs a different cultivar name if it already does not have one. If someone finds another name for this other form (the one I have), not only I would like to know it, but all the other owners and growers of this larger form would like to have a proper label for their plants.

    Jerry
     
  10. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    i understand your discussion with the pro .. and defer to his knowledge based ONLY on your statement of his knowledge.. since i dont know him ....

    but for others .. lets be extremely clear ...

    THERE CAN 'NOT' BE TWO VERSIONS OF A 'NAMED' PLANT ...

    to my knowledge and research... mine is snow.. yours is NOT ...

    that is the whole point of nomenclature rules ... [resin, care to back me up on nomenclature rules, in this regard]

    of course.. its a whole nother ball of wax whether to argue about trade standards and labeling in the wholesale arena ... which you allude to, with your comment about your seller ....

    IMHO.. yours is NOT snow [and i could be bassackwards on that] .... and no matter what your expert says.. it is NOT 'version two' of the variety named 'snow'

    it is an entirely different plant ... improperly labeled as 'snow' ....

    if in fact if it is a known variety it should be renamed accordingly.. and then PROPERLY LABELED ...

    since it has a lot less white than snow... perhaps it could be called A DUSTING OF SNOW, since FLURRIES is already taken [a juniper i think] ... lol

    just a great debate ... as far as i am concerned ....

    as always .... good luck in your ventures ....

    ken
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've seen more than one example of 'Snow' here that morphed into a more arborescent and less tight and white plant with age. Sawara variants are often quite freakish and fluid in behavior, like various other garden forms of conifers returning to something closer to the typical plant in time.
     
  12. JerryRaack

    JerryRaack Active Member

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    Ron,
    Yes, I've seen many plants revert as well; although my experiences with Chamaecyparis is very limited. Fortunately, I AM VERY HAPPY with the 2 plants I currently have. I'm really not much of a person for miniatures because I find they get lost in the larger landscape that I have. However, I do appreciate them for their uniqueness. My only goal in all of this was to understand what it was that I had so that I could label them properly and to know how large they would eventually grow so I could place them properly in the garden. I got a bit more than I bargained for, but thoroughly appreciate all of the information that everyone has offered. It is only through sharing that we learn and grow.
    Do you know how large some of the morphed Snow's got that you know about? Given their growthrate, I'm guessing that my 2 plants will become quite large with time. Luckily they are quite cold hardy, as we get our share of cold weather; often without much if any snowcover (down to -20 Fahrenheit). However, I am fortunate in not having desiccating winds blowing through as the trees in the forest cut all the wind down to next to nothing. This allows me to even grow Zone 6 plants quite successfully, and even a few listed as Zone 7 if mulched properly (example: Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan Sugi' and Farfugium japonicum).
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I may not have so far seen a 'Snow' I recognized as such that had yet gotten above head height. I would call it more of a transitioning than a full reversion, hence "morphed".

    One way to test an older Sawara cultivar could be to take tip cuttings and root them, see what they do. I have seen growths from quite greenish, tree-sized 'Plumosa Aurea' (common as dirt on older properties here) return to making bright yellow new growth when started over from cuttings.

    This phenomenon is surely part of the problem with many garden conifers, that is propagules will show the cultivar characters long enough to be produced and sold in nursery sizes - and then may begin to change rather soon after planting out in the landscape. The so called spiny Greek juniper (actually J. chinensis 'Pyramidalis' or similar, in western gardens) is a foremost example - it looks quite sweet in a one gallon pot; the revolting large patches of lingering dead foliage it shows when it opens up later, after some time in the garden is a whole 'nother story.

    I've never been able to put a cultivar name on an actually rather nice small white-splashed tree that occasionally rises up out of one of the white variegated dwarf Sawara hummocks sold and planted here.
     

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