Japanese Cypress (Hinoki)
1. Academic and common names
Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtuse Endlicher) is an evergreen conifer which belongs to the genus hinoki (Chamaecyparis Spach) under the Cupressaceae family. Included in the Cupressaceae family are incense cedar (Calocedrus Kurz), Cypress (Cupressus L.), Juniper (Juniperus L.), Laosian cypress (Fokienia Henryet Thomas), Oriental arbor-vita (Platycladus Spach), Sabina (Sabina Mill), Hiba arborvitae (Thujopsis Sieb. et Zucc.), Usuri cypress (Microbiota) and Thuja. The Hinoki genus includes Taiwanese red cypress (C. formosensis Matsum.) and Taiwanese cypress (C. obtuse var. formosana (Hayata )Behd.).
Its business term in wood distribution and trade is Hinoki as pronounced in the country of origin.It is called Japanese cypress in English. It is said that the word Hinoki derives from tree (ki) of (of) day (hi) or sprit (hi).
2. Geographic distribution and major producing areas
Hinoki is one of the major tree species in Japan, distributed mainly is Hoshu, shikoku and Kyushu. The prefectures well known for Hinoki production are Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Okayama, Ehime, Kochi and Kumamoto..
Well-established brand names are Kiso-hinoki, Tono-hinoki, Tenryu-hinoki, Owase-hunoki, Yoshino-hinoki, Koyasan-hinoki, Mimasaka-hinoki and Ehime-hinoki.
3. Physiological features
Hinoki is a tall evergreen tree and it can grow taller than 20 meters. Most trees have straight trunks.
4. Distinct features of wood
The color of heartwood is light red and that of sapwood is close to white. Distinction between heartwood and sapwood, therefore , is easy. The grain is relatively uniform and displays warmth and beauty. The surface is smooth to the touch. The glossy surface and the characteristic scent are liked by people today. Hinoki is also widely known as a building material good for health.
The average air-dried density is 0.44 g/cm2. The wood is tight and has little dimensional deformity andis easy to process. The heartwood has superior preservative and anti-moist/water quality. It performs well in drying, adhesion, polishing and painting.
6. Main uses
Hinoki is used in multiple applications, primarily in wooden buildings such as foundations, posts, beams, wall panels, floorings, as well as interior , furniture, bath tubs, saunas, etc. . It is considered as the best building material in Japan. With its strength and natural durability, it is used widely in Japanese style structures and interiors.
The several natural elements contained in hinoki wood are regarded capable of absorbing harmful materials such as formaldehyde. The scent exuded from phytoncide, one of the terpenes, has not only anti bacterial and termites effects, but also activates humans parasympathetic nerve, thereby brings relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and amplifies alpha waves. In comparison with the woods in the world, hinoki is highly suitable for health and an excellent wood.
7. Resources and log production
According to the statistics as of March 31, 2017, planted Hinoki area is 2.6 million hectares with 740 million m3 of growing stock. Hinoki accounts for 26% of the planted forests and 22% of the growing stock. The log production in 2021 was 3.08 million m3 or 14.1% of the total.
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