White cypress

Scientific name

Callitris glaucophylla. Family Cupressaceae

Other names

Cypress pine; western cypress; cypress


  • White cypress grows to 25m high, typically conical.
  • Stem is 0.3 to 0.6m diameter.
  • Bark is dark grey, hard and deeply furrowed.
  • Foliage is grey-green.


  • Widespread natural distribution from central western Queensland to Victoria throughout most of the western New South Wales.
  • Occurs in major commercial forest  in the Tambo–Dalby–Inglewood region of southern Queensland
  • Occurs in the Baradine–Narrabri and Cobar districts of northern New South Wales.
  • Sawn timber is readily available.



  • Heartwood varies from light to dark yellow-brown.
  • Sapwood is creamy white.


  • Very fine with an even texture and generally straight.
  • Knots are common.


  • Construction: sawn timber (usually unseasoned) in general house framing, fascias, barge boards and fencing; also cladding, flooring, linings and joinery.
  • Decorative: internal quality furniture, outdoor furniture, turnery, joinery, carving, parquetry flooring.
  • Others: beehives, oyster stakes, jetty piles (low salinity river or canal situations).


  • Density: 675kgm3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.5m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S5 unseasoned, SD6 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned); F4, F5, F7 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2858-2008 : Timber—Softwood—Visually graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J3 unseasoned, JD3 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 2.6% (tangential), 2.4% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.26% (tangential), 0.22% (radial).
  • Durability above-ground: Class 1 (life expectancy more than 40 years); heartwood is highly resists decay when fully exposed to the weather.
  • Durability in-ground: Class 2 (life expectancy 15–25 years); heartwood moderately resists decay when used in the ground.
  • Lyctine susceptibility: not susceptible.
  • Termite resistance: resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood and heartwood are both very resistant to impregnating with commercial preservative.
  • Seasoning: dries quickly, but restrict the drying rate during the early stages to avoid fine surface checking; rarely distorts during drying.
  • Hardness: firm (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) to indent and working with hand tools.
  • Machining: satisfactorily machines and turns to a smooth surface.
  • Fixing: pre-drill seasoned timber when hand nailing, but if machine nailing, using shear point nails will be satisfactory; unseasoned timber generally nails well using either method but pre-drill when hand nailing close to board ends.
  • Gluing: satisfactorily bonds using special techniques, e.g. slightly roughening surfaces and increasing open assemble times.
  • Finishing: readily accepts paint, stain and polish.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: creamy white, distinct from heartwood.
  • Heartwood: light to dark yellow-brown.
  • Texture: very uniform with some figure (pattern) and numerous knots.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: indistinct.
  • Vessels: absent.
  • Rays: indistinct.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: burns well leaving a white ash.
  • Odour: distinctive and characteristic.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2008, AS 2858—2008: Timber—Soft wood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.