Baji Cypress (King Cypress)

Baji Cypress (King Cypress) in Tibet
Baji Cypress (King Cypress) / Kosi Gramatikoff, , public domain

WorldBlue  In short

The Baji Cypress (King Cypress) has a trunk circumference of some 18.2 m and is approximately 50 m tall. According to legends this tree has seen the birth of one of world’s oldest religions – Bön.

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GPS coordinates
29.6222 N 94.4021 E
Location, address
Asia, Tibet, Nyingchi Prefecture, in southern suburbs of Nyingchi city, south-east from Baji (Bayi), in a cypress grove
Alternate names
Great Cypress, “God of Tree”
Tsangpo River cypress (Cupressus gigantea W. C. Cheng & L.K. Fu)
5.8 m (circumference roughly 18.2 m)
~ 50 m

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Cupressus gigantea

Baji Cypress is located in a grove of similar giant trees, all belonging to a very rare species – Tsangpo River cypress, Cupressus gigantea.

This magnificent tree species was described scientifically only in 1975. These cypresses grow only in the deep valley of Tsangpo River and its tributaries Nyang and Nize at 3,000 – 3,400 m height, along some 200 km long section of Tsangpo river.

Tsangpo River cypresses are becoming increasingly rare and are endangered. These magnificent trees are the tallest cypresses in the world, often more than 50 m tall.

Sacred Bön place

According to legends King Cypress is linked to a legendary person – Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche. This man lived long ago, before Gautama Buddha (e.g. before the 5th century BC) and founded the Bön religion. This religion is practiced up to this day and is seen as a relict, more ancient Tibetan tradition, an echo of the unexplored past of this unusual country.

King Cypress was the "life tree" of Miwoche, this tree has similar age to the ancient Bön religion, which predates Buddhism, Christianity, Islam.

Nature Reserve

Thanks to the legendary status King Cypress and trees around it have been preserved up to this day. The area of the grove is approximately 8 ha, but the Baji Giant Cypress Nature Reserve protects a larger area – more than 6,000 ha, with several more (less impressive) groves of cypresses.

Many ancient cypresses have a similar size to Baji Cypress, but Baji cypress is somewhat larger. The crown projection of this tree is 668 m², estimated age – some 2,600 years.

There is a possibility that some other cypress is even larger than Baji Cypress.


  1. Cupressys gigantea, The Gymnosperm Database. Accessed in the 2nd May 2013
Baji Cypress is included in the following article:

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