Cupressus sempervirens L.

Last updated:8 May 2016

Scientific Name

Cupressus sempervirens L.


Chamaecyparis thujiformis R.Sm. ex Gordon, Cupressus conoidea Spadoni, Cupressus elongata Salisb. [Illegitimate], Cupressus expansa Targ.Tozz. ex Steud., Cupressus fastigiata DC., Cupressus foemina Garsault, Cupressus globulifera Parl., Cupressus horizontalis Mill., Cupressus lugubris Salisb., Cupressus mariae Sennen, Cupressus mas Garsault, Cupressus orientalis Beissn., Cupressus patula Pers., Cupressus pyramidalis O.Targ.Tozz., Cupressus roylei Carrière, Cupressus sphaerocarpa Parl., Cupressus stricta Mill. ex Gordon, Cupressus thujifolia Knight ex Gordon, Cupressus thujiformis Parker ex Gordon, Cupressus thujioides H.Low ex Gordon, Cupressus tournefortii Audib. ex Carrière, Cupressus umbilicata Parl., Juniperus whitleyana Miq., Cupressus horizontalis (Mill.) Voss, Cupressus horizontalis var. pendula Endl., Cupressus sempervirens var. globulifera Parl., Cupressus sempervirens var. horizontalis (Mill.) Loudon, Cupressus sempervirens subsp. horizontalis (Mill.) A.Camus, Cupressus sempervirens f. horizontalis (Mill.) Voss, Cupressus sempervirens f. numidica Trab., Cupressus sempervirens var. pendula (Endl.) A.Camus, Cupressus sempervirens var. pyramidalis (O.Targ.Tozz.) Nyman, Cupressus sempervirens var. sphaerocarps (Parl.) Parl., Cupressus sempervirens var. stricta Aiton, Cupressus sempervirens f. stricta (Aiton) Rehder, Cupressus sempervirens var. umbilicata (Parl.) Parl. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Italian cypress [2]
China Di zhong hai bai mu [2]
Arab Serouel [3]
France Cyprès toujours vert, cypress d’italie [3]
Tunisia Saroual [2]

Geographical Distributions

Cupressus sempervirens tree is native to Tunisia. It is intermittently distributed in North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco). This plant grows naturalized around the entire Mediterranean, North Africa, Greese, Crete and Western Asia. [3]

Itgrows in Tunisia at an altitude of between 520 and 1,080m with average annual rainfall is between 470 and 60mm. [3]

Botanical Description

C. sempervirens is a member of the Cupressaceae family [1]. It can grow upwards of 30 metres, shallowly fissured.

The branches ascending or horizontally spreading and the branchlets not arranged in a plane, ultimate ones 4-angled, ca. 1 mm in diameter.

The leaves in 4 ranks, densely appressed, dark green, not glaucous, 0.5-1 mm, ridged abaxially, without a conspicuous abaxial gland, apex obtuse or subacute.

The pollen cones 4-8 mm. Seed cones yellowish gray when ripe, subglobose or ellipsoid, 2.5-4 × 2-3 cm; cone scales 8-14, each fertile scale with 8-20 seeds. [4]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

C. sempervirens branches are reported to contain monoterpenes; biflavonoid; sesquiterpenes; diterpenic [3]. The cones reported to contain diterpenic acids; tannins and proanthocyanidolic oligomer derivatives [3]; monoterpene hydrocarbons; α-pinene and γ-terpinene. [5][6]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, cones [3] seed [7]

Traditional Use

C. sempervirens leaves and cones are reported traditionally use for digestive disease and haemorrhoids. [8]

Preclinical Data



A subspecies of C. sempervirens essential oil was tested against several cancer cell lines along with two other essential oils. The cypress leaf oil exhibited the highest antiproliferative and cytotoxic activity particularly against renal cell lines. The mechanism of action responsible for these actions was not clearly identified. [9]


C. sempervirens essential oil was found to have moderate antimicrobial activity when compared to both antibiotics vancomycin (30 mcg) and erythromycin (15 mcg) in a laboratory analysis designed to evaluate the antimicrobial activities of several essential oils. [10]


C. sempervirens essential oil illustrated repellant and toxic effects against Sitophilus zeamais (Maize Weevil) and Tribolium confusum (Flour Beetle). [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

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  1. The Plant List. Cupressus sempervirens L. Ver 1.1. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 March 23; cited on 2016 Apr 5]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC; 1999 p. 538.
  3. IUCN. A guide to medicinal plants in North Africa. Malaga, Spain: IUCN, 2005; p. 93-94.
  4. Floras of China. Cupressus sempervirens Linnaeus. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 NO date [cited on 2016 Apr 11]. Available from:
  5. Loukis A. Composition of the essential oil of Cupressus sempervirens L. cones from Greece. J essent Oil Res. 2007; 363-364.
  6. Nouri, AB, Dhifi W, Bellili S et al. Chemical composition, antioxidant potential and antibacterial activity of essential oil cones of. J Chem. 2015; 501:538929.
  7. A. Cáceres, LM, Girón SR, Alvarado et al. Screening of antimicrobial activity of plants popularly used in guatemala for the treatment of dermatomucosal diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 1987;20(3):223–237.
  8. Rai M, Acharya D & Rios JL editors. Ethnomedicinal plants: revitalizing of traditional knowledge of herbs. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2011. p. 340.
  9. Loizzo MR. Antiproliferative effects of essential oils and their major constituents in human renal adenocarcinoma and amelanotic melanoma cells. Cell Prolif. 2008;41(6):1002-1012.
  10. Toroglu S. In vitro antimicrobial activity and antagonistic effect of essential oils from plant species. J Environ Biol. 2007;28(3):551-559.
  11. Tapondjou AL. Bioactivities of cymol and essential oils of Cupressus sempervirens and Eucalyptus saligna against Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky and Tribolium confusum du Val. J Stored Prod Res. 2005; 41(1):91-102.