What is Cypress?
Cypress is an evergreen tree that is native to the Northern hemisphere though currently found in almost all parts of the world. The cypress plant belongs to the Cupressaceae family and is a conifer. There are a number of species of cypress with most of the being trees while a few are shrubs. Cypress plants have needle like leaves and produce woody cones that are almost spherical. There are three groups of cypress plants which are the swamp cypress, false cypress and true cypress plants. False cypress is usually bigger than the true cypress and is mostly planted for timber.
Cypress plants are used for wood, decoration, fencing, production of scented oils and firewood. The tree is a popular source of soft wood due to its ability to resist decay as well as attacks by insects. These qualities are what have made timber from these trees popular since the times of ancient Egypt where it was used to make doors, statues, furniture and mummy cases. One of the popular uses of cypress lumber today is in exterior siding in areas that experience temperature and moisture variations. This is because it is one of the few readily available sources of wood that can withstand such conditions. Cypress trees are also widely used during the Christmas festivities for decorative purposes. They are big business during the season with many people temporarily engaging in selling Christmas trees. Planting cypress trees in cemeteries seems to be a tradition in some European countries though the reason for this is not very clear.
Cypress trees and plants are also used to decorate compounds. Some types of cypress have very attractive shapes while others can be trained into certain shapes. They are especially beautiful when planted in rows along a drive. Being evergreen also adds to their beauty as they retain their color even while all trees and plants have turned color or shed their leaves. Those who plant cypress trees have no problems cleaning their compounds as the do not shed leaves like other types of trees. The cones produced by the trees are also sometimes crafted into art pieces for decorating homes.
Another popular use of the cypress tree is in fencing. There are many people who have cypress hedges that are very beautiful. Having a cypress hedge contributes towards having a better and greener environment. There are however a number of cypress species that are disease prone which has led to reduced use of cypress hedges. Similar to most other live fencing options, a cypress hedge can cause conflict between neighbors especially where the hedge is left to grow wild without sufficient trimming and care.
Cypress oil is also used in beauty and skin care products to help deal with excessive fluid retention in the skin. It also has a spicy and refreshing aroma which is used in fragrances. With so many different uses, the cypress plant is clearly an important part of our environment and there is need to care for as well as preserve it.