Cupressus comes from the Latin, that’s the way the ancient Romans called the cypress. In turn this name derives from the Greek word kypárissos or cipariso. The Latin poet Ovid explains the origin of the term with the legend of Cyparissus, from which the tree takes its name and from which in turn derives the name of the island of Cyprus: this young man spent much of his time in the woods in the company of a deer with golden horns sacred to the nymphs. One day, due to the heat of a summer afternoon, the deer laid in the shade of some trees to rest and Cyparissus inadvertently pierced him with a sharp spear. In desperation, the boy asked the gods to remain in eternal mourning, so it became a cypress, the tree of pain that since then grows near the graves.
Well known by the Mediterranean cultures in antiquity, the genus cupressus is nevertheless quite spread in warm climate regions of the planet, where it grows spontaneously. It includes about 20 species, usually trees but occasionally shrubs, distributed in the Mediterranean, the Himalayas, the Sahara, North America, and tropical and subtropical regions.
The arizonica variant is originally from Arizona, California and Mexico. In those regions it grows naturally in mountains and heights between 1500 and 2300 meters. It differs from the common cypress by the bluish tone of the leaves and the gray color of the fruit.