Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Hesperocyparis bakeri


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora. 1994. Hesperocyparis bakeri. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: 17 October 2013: Scientific name changed from Cupressus bakeri to Hesperocyparis bakeri; references 34-37 added. ABBREVIATION : HESBAK SYNONYMS : Callitropsis bakeri (Jeps.) D.P. Little [37] Cupressus bakeri Jeps. [10,19,36] Cupressus bakeri subsp. bakeri Jeps., Baker or Modoc cypress Cupressus bakeri subsp. matthewsii Wolf, Siskiyou cypress [10,19,25] Neocupressus bakeri (Jeps.) de Laub. [35] NRCS PLANT CODE : HEBA5 COMMON NAMES : Baker cypress Modoc cypress Siskiyou cypress TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of Baker cypress is Hesperocyparis bakeri (Jeps.) Bartel [28,34]. Dodd [5,6] and Rafii [21,22] assert that population studies of morphological and chemical diversity in Baker cypress do not support subspecies status. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : No entry


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Baker cypress is restricted to northern California and southern Oregon. Baker cypress occurs in Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties in California [18,25]. Siskiyou cypress has disjunct populations in the Siskiyou Mountains of Josephine County, Oregon, and on Goosenest Mountain in Siskiyou County, California [18,29]. The Bureau of Land Management administers the Baker Cypress Natural Area and Timbered Crater Baker Cypress Natural Area, both in Siskiyou and Modoc counties, California [16]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub STATES : CA OR BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K005 Mixed conifer forest K007 Red fir forest K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K026 Oregon oakwoods K030 California oakwoods K033 Chaparral K034 Montane chaparral SAF COVER TYPES : 207 Red fir 211 White fir 218 Lodgepole pine 233 Oregon white oak 234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone 243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer 244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir 246 California black oak 247 Jeffrey pine 248 Knobcone pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Baker cypress is a component of the northern interior cypress forest. This habitat type is an open, fire-maintained, scrubby forest similar to the knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata) forest. It is associated with serpentine chaparral, and intergrades on less severe sites with upper Sonoran mixed chaparral, montane chaparral, or knobcone pine forest community types. On more mesic sites, the northern interior cypress forest intergrades with mixed evergreen forest or montane coniferous forest [11]. Baker cypress rarely forms pure stands [31]. The Timbered Crater grove is associated with yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa and P. jeffreyi) forest and suggests a transition zone between several plant communities, including northern juniper woodland, yellow pine forest, and sagebrush scrub. High elevation groves of Baker cypress in Plumas County, California, are associated with red fir (Abies magnifica) forest [29]. Species not already mentioned that are commonly associated with Baker cypress include sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), Brewer oak (Q. garryana ssp. breweri), Sadler oak (Q. sadleriana), incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), Brewer spruce (Picea breweriana), Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), juneberry (Amelanchier pallida), greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), whitethorn ceanothus (Ceanothus cordulatus), wedgeleaf ceanothus (C. cuneatus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus), Lemmon ceanothus (C. lemmonii), squawcarpet (C. prostratus), snowbrush ceanothus (C. velutinus), California redbud (Cercis occidentalis), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), desertsweet (Chamaebatiaria millefolium), bush chinquapin (Chrysolepsis sempervirens), low rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), Fremont silktassel (Garrya fremontii), western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis), bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata), Klamath plum (P. subcordata), western chokecherry (P. virginiana var. demissa), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) creeping sage (Salvia sonomensis), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), gooseberry (Ribes spp.), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), pussy paws (Calyptridium umbellatum), larkspur (Delphinium spp.), bedstraw (Galium spp.), and goosefoot violet (Viola purpurea) [2,5,11,27,29].


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Rodents consume cypress seeds [1,18]. Cypresses are considered undesirable forage for livestock, although young plants are browsed [27]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Baker cypress trees could be planted in the hot interior sections of California as specimen trees, but are not feasible for windbreaks or erosion control because of slow growth [31]. Seedlings of Baker cypress are susceptible to damping-off fungi [29]. Baker cypress is occasionally attacked by juniper mistletoe (Phoradendron juniperinum ssp. juniperinum) in Plumas County, and Siskiyou cypress has been infected by coryneum canker (Coryneum cardinale), which can kill trees [9].


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Baker cypress is a native, evergreen tree with a single stem and narrow crown [12]. It grows from 33 to 99 feet (10-30 m) tall [10,31]. Juvenile leaves are from 0.08 to 0.4 inches (2-10 mm) long and may be produced on seedlings for several years. They gradually give way to mature leaves, which are 0.08 inches (2 mm) long. Ovulate cones occur in clusters of 15 to 30 and are 0.8 to 1.6 inches (20-40 mm) in diameter [1]. Staminate cones are 0.08 to 0.12 inches (3-4 mm) long [10]. The bark of Baker cypress is partially exfoliating on the main trunk [10,31]. A well-defined taproot and numerous lateral roots are formed the first year [12]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Baker cypress reproduces exclusively from seed. Cone production is abundant. Staminate cones are produced on trees that are 6 to 7 years old [31]. Ovulate cones are produced on trees that are 14 years of age or older and require 2 years to mature [1]. They contain from 50 to 100 seeds per cone [1,31]. The cones are closed; they persist on the tree until opened by the heat of a fire or desiccation due to age [12,29]. Seeds are shed gradually over several months after the cones are opened by heat [29]. Detached cones will open, but they rarely result in seedling establishment, usually due to the lack of a suitable seedbed [1]. Seed dispersal is primarily by wind and rain [29]. Baker cypress requires bare mineral soil for germination and seedling establishment. Seedlings of Baker cypress have been found in areas that do not show signs of recent fire, but the seedlings area usually in the immediate vicinity of fallen cypress trees and along skid roads [27]. Seedling mortality is greater in shaded situations with abundant litter because of damping-off [1,29]. Seedlings are sensitive to excessive moisture [31]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Baker cypress is restricted to well-drained soils [1]. It occurs as disjunct stands and isolated groves in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Ranges, and the Siskiyou Mountains [21,29]. In the Siskiyou Mountains Baker cypress occurs on serpentine soils; in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range it occurs on basic volcanic rock. Soil profiles are almost absent. On gentle slopes trees can be found on deeper soil profiles; where Baker cypress is associated with red fir, a good humic layer of dark brown soil exists [5]. Baker cypress is generally found at elevations from 3,795 to 7,042 feet (1,150-2,134 m) on north- to northeast-facing slopes [5,29]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Cypress seedlings are shade intolerant and survive best in full sunlight on bare mineral soil [29]. In the Mud Lake-Wheeler Peak area of Plumas County, Baker cypress is being replaced by red and white (Abies concolor) firs. Hundreds of saplings and pole-sized trees have died with no indication of insects or disease. Competition of crowns for light, shading of the ground, and accumulation of thick, black duff characteristic of dense true fir stands have created an unfavorable environment for the establishment and survival of Baker cypress [30]. According to Armstrong [1], cypresses of southern California are very sensitive to lack of light, losing their foliage when growing in shade. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Cypress (Hesperocyparis spp.) shed pollen in late fall, winter, and spring. Seeds mature 15 to 18 months after pollination. Ovulate cones ripen the second season after pollination, but remain closed until opened by heat or age [12,31].


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Baker cypress is a fire-adapted, fire-dependent species. Reproduction is usually restricted to burned sites [27]. The serotinous cones of Baker cypress persist on the trees for years. Cone-opening is erratic, slow, and almost negligible except when cones are exposed to extreme heat; then it is rapid and uniform [32]. When opened by the heat of a fire, the seeds fall on exposed mineral soil, and produce thickets of seedlings [16,31]. Most seed falls in the first few months following fire [32]. Fires that occur in late summer and fall, followed by winter rains, ensure seed dissemination on bare mineral substrates [27,29]. No information was available on fire-free intervals for communities dominated by Baker cypress. However, Tecate cypress (Hesperocyparis forbesii), has an average interval between fires of 25 years, ranging from 15 to 63 years [1]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree without adventitious-bud root crown Crown residual colonizer (on-site, initial community) Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Baker cypress has thin, exfoliating bark which offers little fire protection [29]. Most fires probably kill Baker cypress. Cones of the California cypress open as the resin melts and boils. Rapid charring of the thick cone scales extinguishes the flames, leaving seeds unburned [1]. At the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in southern California on October 8, 1943, a severe fire killed all Siskiyou cypress trees. Some Baker cypress were killed from the heat even though they were not burned [31]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Fires occurring too frequently in cypress groves may destroy them, as reproduction could be eliminated before it had a chance to produce cones. Conversely, fire suppression could threaten the species.


SPECIES: Hesperocyparis bakeri
REFERENCES : 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State College. 129 p. Thesis. [21332] 2. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252] 3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 4. Crosby, Bill. 1992. Our wildfire. Sunset. June: 62-72. [21662] 5. Dodd, Richard S.; Afzai-Rafii, Zara; Power, Ariel B. 1990. Biodiversity within natural populations of Cupressus bakeri (Goosenest Mountain, California). Ecologia Mediterranea. 16: 51-57. [21914] 6. Dodd, Richard S. 1992. Noteworthy collections: California. Madrono. 39(1): 79. [17536] 7. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 8. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 9. Hawksworth, Frank G.; Wiens, Delbert. 1966. Observations on witches'-broom formation, autoparasitism, and new hosts in Phoradendron. Madrono. 18: 218-244. [18653] 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992] 11. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756] 12. Johnson, LeRoy C. 1974. Cupressus L. cypress. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 363-369. [7599] 13. Kruckeberg, Arthur R. 1984. California serpentines: flora, vegetation, geology, soils and management problems. Publications in Botany Volume 48. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 180 p. [12482] 14. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 15. Ledig, F. Thomas. 1987. Genetic structure and the conservation of California's endemic and near-endemic conifers. In: Elias, T. S., ed. Conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of symposium; [Date of conference unknown]; [Location of conference unknown]. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Society: 587-594. [22218] 16. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1975. Rare and local conifers in the United States. Conservation Research Rep. No. 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. [15691] 17. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952] 18. McMillan, Calvin. 1956. The edaphic restriction of Cupressus and Pinus in the Coast Ranges of central California. Ecological Monographs. 26: 177-212. [11884] 19. Mitchell, Alan F. 1972. Conifers in the British Isles: A descriptive handbook. Forestry Commission Booklet No. 33. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 322 p. [20571] 20. Posey, Clayton E.; Goggans, James F. 1967. Observations on species of cypress indigenous to the United States. Circular 153. Auburn, AL: Auburn University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 19 p. [20384] 21. Rafii, Zara; Cool, Laurence G.; Jonas, Robert; Zavarini, Eugene. 1992. Chemical diversity in Cupressus bakeri. 1. Megagametophyte fatty acids. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 20(1): 25-30. [20638] 22. Rafii, Zara; Cool, Laurence G.; Zavarin, Eugene. 1992. Variability of foliar mono- and sesquiterpenoids of Cupressus bakeri. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 20(2): 123-131. [20637] 23. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 24. Silen, Roy R.; Olson, Donald L. 1992. A pioneer exotic tree search for the Douglas-fir region. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-298. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 44 p. [21668] 25. Smith, James Payne, Jr.; Berg, Ken. 1988. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 4th ed. Special Publication No. 1. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Society. 168 p. [7494] 26. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 27. Stone, Chester O. 1965. Modoc cypress, Cupressus bakeri Jeps., does occur in Modoc County. Aliso. 6(1): 77-87. [25564] 28. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2013. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: [34262] 29. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219] 30. Wagener, Willis W.; Quick, C. R. 1963. Cupressus bakeri--an extension of the known botanical range. Aliso. 5(3): 351-352. [25565] 31. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740] 32. Zedler, Paul H. 1986. Closed-cone conifers of the chaparral. Fremontia. 14(3): 14-17. [18648] 33. Wolf, C. B. 1948. Taxonomic and distributional status of the New World cypresses. El Aliso. 1: 1-250. [20389] 34. Baldwin, Bruce G.; Goldman, Douglas H.; Keil, David J.; Patterson, Robert; Rosatti, Thomas J.; Wilken, Dieter H., eds. 2012. The Jepson manual. Vascular plants of California, second edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1568 p. [86254] 35. de Laubenfels, D. J. 2009. Nomenclatural actions for the New World cypresses (Cupressaceae). Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature. 19(3): 300-306. [87295] 36. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2013. Flora of North America north of Mexico, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: [36990] 37. Little, Damon P. 2006. Evolution and circumscription of the true cypresses (Cupressaceae: Cupressus). Systematic Botany. 31(3): 461-480. [87294]

FEIS Home Page