How to Identify Leyland Cypress Leaf


A fast-growing evergreen tree, the Leyland cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii) is an attractive landscape tree that grows 60 to 70 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide in a pyramidal shape. The Leyland cypress grows best in full sunlight exposure and in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 10, enjoying hotter summers and milder winters that don't experience temperatures colder than -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Leyland cypress trees can look very similar to other coniferous trees, but studying its leaves helps to make a positive identification of the correct tree species.

Step 1

Notice the leaf type to identify the Leyland cypress. This tree has scale-like foliage that's evergreen and has needles in flattened sprays of "branchlets" along the stems.

Step 2

Identify Leyland cypress leaves by how they're arranged on the stems. Leyland cypress trees have needle-like leaves that are arranged opposite each other in pairs along the stems.

Step 3

Look at the color to spot Leyland cypress leaves. Leyland cypress trees have soft-green needle leaves that turn bluish-green to dark blue-green as the tree matures.

Step 4

Study the length of the scale-like leaves. Leyland cypress trees have leaves that are less than 2 inches long, fine and feathery with pointed needles.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't confuse the Leyland cypress leaves with those of the Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica), which look rather similar because they're both scale-like. But the Arizona cypress's leaves overlap each other closely and circle around the branchlets, as well as have a grayish-green, duller coloring.


  • University of Florida: X Cupressocyparis leylandii, Leyland Cypress
  • Arbor Day Foundation: Cypress, Leyland -- X Cupressocyparis leylandii
  • Arbor Day Foundation: Cypress, Arizona -- Cupressus arizonica var. arizonica

Who Can Help

  • Terry L. Ettinger Horticulture Consulting Services: Evergreen Identification
Keywords: Leyland cypress leaf, identify Leyland cypress, Cupressocypraris leylandii

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.