Strange pine trees

Asked March 31, 2016, 3:21 PM EDT

Hello! I appreciate your responses to my questions. Attached are two pictures of pine trees that we have on our property. The trees were here when we bought the house a few years ago. The trees are so strange looking as they look like they have two different types of branches on the same trunk. Any idea what we have as folks are always asking us about them. Thank you very much! Kathy

Baltimore County Maryland chamaecyparis pisifera chamaecyparis boulevard cypress reversion sport on tree

1 Response

First, look to see if the two kinds of foliage are growing off two different trunks. In that case you have two tree intertwined.

However, we suspect that you have one tree. It's not a pine. It is an evergreen called a chamaecyparis. The particular species you have is chamaecyparis pisifera. And the variety of that which you have is 'Boulevard' (which is most of the tree. It has the bluish, shorter foliage.) This is a popular small landscape tree because of the blue coloration.

The other foliage you see (more yellowish, long, and feathery) is not an entirely different plant but a reversion to the original pisifera species that the 'Boulevard' variety came from. To explain: many years ago, someone had a tree that looked like the yellow-green one--it was the "mother" tree, if you will--and it produced a "sport", a sort of freak or mutant branch. The sport looked interesting and attractive, so the gardener cut it off and propagated it. The gardener named it 'Boulevard', made countless reproductions of that same mutant and sold them to nurseries. However, once in a while, one of the 'Boulevard' chamaecyparis tree branches will revert to its original species, the chamaecyparis pisifera--and then you get the long feathery-looking branches.

To see what the original tree looked like, look at Google Images of 'chamaecyparis pisifera'.