The Cupressus Goveniana
is commonly known as Gowen Cypress
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Gowen cypress is restricted to the Coast Ranges of central and
northwestern California [14
]. Gowen cypress (Cupressus goveniana
ssp. goveniana) occurs in only two areas of Monterey County, California:
Huckleberry Hill, and between San Jose Creek and Gibson Creek [26
Mendocino cypress occurs in a narrow, discontinuous strip along the
Mendocino County coast known as the "Mendocino White Plains" or "pine
]. A grove also occurs in Sonoma County [26
cypress is cultivated in Hawaii [32
The currently accepted scientific name of Gowen cypress is Cupressus
goveniana Gord. (Cupressaceae) [1
]. There are two recognized
C. goveniana ssp. goveniana Gord. Gowen cypress
C. goveniana ssp. pygmaea (Lemm.) Bartel Mendocino or pygmy cypress
As used in this write-up, "Gowen cypress" refers to both subspecies
unless C. goveniana ssp. goveniana is specifically indicated.
Mendocino cypress was previously considered a variety of Gowen cypress,
but has been given subspecies status by J. Bartel [30
]. Santa Cruz
cypress (C. abramsiana), listed as a variety of Gowen cypress by Wolf
] and Little [13
], has since been given species status by Hickman [5
Gowen cypress can occur in dense thickets as well as in open groves.
Dense thickets are common in regenerating burns . In Monterey
County, Gowen cypress (Cupressus goveniana ssp. goveniana) and bishop
pine (P. muricata) form almost impenetrable thickets . In some
areas Gowen cypress is associated with closed-cone coniferous woodlands
and closed-cone pine-cypress forests [5,24,26].
Mendocino cypress is associated with redwood (Sequoia
sempervirens)-Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and other north coast
coniferous forests in Mendocino County . This subspecies is also a
component of the Mendocino pygmy cypress forest, which intergrades with
upland redwood and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)-grand fir (Abies
grandis) forests .
Gowen cypress (C. g. ssp. goveniana) is a component of the Monterey
pygmy cypress forest, which intergrades with Monterey pine (Pinus
radiata) forest on deep soils .
Publications naming Gowen cypress as a community dominant are listed
Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of
The vascular plant communities of California 
The closed-cone pines and cypress 
Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with Gowen
cypress include Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), Mendocino White
Plains lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. bolanderi), shore pine (P.
c. ssp. contorta), valley oak (Quercus lobata), Coulter willow (Salix
coulteri), Monterey ceanothus (Ceanothus rigidus), glory brush (C.
gloriosus var. exaltatus), waveyleaf ceanothus (C. foliosus), sandmat
manzanita (Arctostaphylos pumila), Hooker manzanita (A. hookeri), hairy
manzanita (A. columbiana), glossyleaf manzanita (A. nummularia),
Eastwood manzanita (A. glandulosa), Pacific bayberry (Myrica
californica), giant chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), salal
(Gaultheria shallon), Eastwood's goldenbush (Enceliopsis fasciculata),
chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium
ovatum), Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), coast
Labrador tea (Ledum glandulosum var. columbianum), navarretia
(Navarretia atractyloides), skunkweed (N. squarrosa), bush monkeyflower
(Mimulus aurantiacus), evergreen violet (Viola sempervirens), pink sand
verbena (Abronia umbellata), Monterey sedge (Carex montereyensis),
California canarygrass (Phalaris californica), and beargrass
(Xerophyllum tenax) [6,7,16,24,26].
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Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Esser, Lora L. 1994. Cupressus goveniana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.