Q: Where did Leyland cypress come from? Is it a native plant?
A: Leyland cypress isn’t native anywhere! It originated as an unexpected cross between Monterey cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa, and Alaska cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. The parent trees are native to the North American Pacific coast. The seedlings were collected in Wales at the Leighton Hall arboretum in 1888. The beauty and outstanding growth of these new hybrids caused them to be planted throughout England and Europe. Leylands were first introduced in the South in 1965 at Brookgreen Gardens, SC and Clemson University. They are so easy to propagate and grow that nurseries have sold millions of them since. It’s hard to believe these ubiquitous trees have been growing less than fifty years in our part of the world.
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