Due to strong winds, the Arboretum Versailles-Chèvreloup is closed this Friday, March 10.
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Dédale des Lawsons © MNHN

Lawson Maze

The Lawson cypresses (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), often simply called “lawsons” in France, gave their name to this area.

Inside the horticultural area, on the edges of the Heron Pond, the site groups a collection of more than 50 cultivars (horticultural varieties) of this conifer. Trees about 50 years old, densely planted, make up an enclosed landscape with a unique atmosphere where you may wander, and almost get lost, while discovering the variety of their habits, textures and colours.

À droite, Chêne rouge (Quercus rubra), face au Dédale des Lawsons  © MNHN - S. Gerbault
À droite, Chêne rouge (Quercus rubra), face au Dédale des Lawsons © MNHN - S. Gerbault

This tree resembling the thuya, able to reach a height of 60 m in the wild, is noteworthy for being the conifer that has been grown to produce the greatest number of cultivars: several hundreds! These vary from dwarf shrubs to majestic trees, with dense or loose boughs, weeping or upright, varying from green to grey, blue and yellow, and even variegated in colour.
Native to the Pacific coasts of California and Oregon, the Lawson cypress is planted as an ornamental tree in all temperate regions. It was introduced to Britain in 1854. Very sturdy and resistant to cold, it mainly grows in moist soils. Its light, resistant wood smells of citronella and it is used in interior carpentry.

Dédale des Lawsons © MNHN
Dédale des Lawsons © MNHN