Louisiana swamp with cypress trees out of New Orleans. Cypress is the name applied to many plants in the cypress family Cupressaceae, which is a conifer of northern temperate regions. Most cypress species are trees, while a few are shrubs. Most plants bearing the common name cypress are in the genera Cupressus and Chamaecyparis, but several other genera in the family also carry the name. The word "cypress" is derived from Old French "cipres", which was imported from Latin "cyparissus," the latinisation of the Greek.