USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technical Fact Sheet

Cupressus lusitanica

Mexican Cypress

Family: Cupressaceae

Other Common Names: Cipres (Latin America).

Distribution: Native to Mexico and probably Guatemala but now widely planted at high elevations throughout the tropical world.

The Tree: Height growth may exceed 100 ft with a bole diameter of 2 to 3 ft, sometimes reaching

5 ft. Logs are usually well shaped, straight, and cylindrical.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood yellowish, pale brown, or pinkish, sometimes streaked or variegated; sapwood paler, usually sharply demarcated. Grain straight irregular; texture fine and uniform; luster rather high; fragrantly scented.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.43; air-dry density 32 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard; plantation grown)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

12% (27) 12,400 1,390 5,820

Green (66) 6,160 925 2,880

12% 10,270 1,020 5,380

Janka side hardness 340 lb for green material and 460 lb at 12% moisture content.

Drying and Shrinkage: Air-dries very rapidly with little or no end or surface checking and only slight warp. Kiln schedule T10-D5S is suggested for 4/4 stock and T8-D4S for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: volumetric 8.0%.

Working Properties: The wood is easy to work with hand and machine tools, easy to nail, and stains and polishes well.

Durability: Reports on durability are conflicting.

Preservation: The heartwood is reported to be not treatable by the open-tank process and to have an irregular response to pressure-vacuum systems. Treatment may be improved considerably by incising.

Uses: Posts and poles, furniture components, and general construction.

Additional Reading: (27), (56), (66)

27. Gonzalez T., M. E., and G. E. Gonzalez T. 1973. Propiedades fisicas, mecanicas, usos y otras caracteristicas de algunas maderas comercialmente importantes en Costa Rica. Parte I. Laboratorio de Productos Forestales. San Pedro.

56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.

66. Tanzania: Util. Div. For. Dep. 1961. Timbers of Tanganyika: Cupressus lusitanica. Utilization Section, Forest Division, Moshi, Tanzania.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.