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Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium is often confused with:
Taxodium distichum var. mexicanum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Taxodium distichum Taxodium distichum
Quercus lyrata Form (Pitt County, NC)-Late Fall
Saururus cernuus Saururus cernuus
Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium has some common insect problems:
Bagworms in Ornamental Landscapes

Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Taxodium ascendens
Phonetic Spelling
taks-OH-dee-um DIS-tik-um
Description

The Pond Cypress is a smaller variety of the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) and, like Bald Cypress, is a long-lived, pyramidal conifer (cone-bearing) tree. It is slow growing, reaching 35 feet after 20 years, but at maturity, it can reach 70 feet with a 20 foot girth. It has overlapping scale-like leaves up to 1/3 of an inch long and is restricted to the Gulf region of southeastern United States, where it often intergrades with Bald Cypress. Although it looks like a needled evergreen (same family as redwoods) in summer, it is deciduous. It is native to southern swamps, bayous and rivers, and is known to tolerate flooded conditions for extended periods of time. The roots grow knobby, conical "knees" that rise up from the ground. In the deep South, it is a familiar sight growing directly in swampy water, often in large stands, with its branches heavily draped with Spanish moss. In cultivation, however, it grows very well in drier, upland soils.

In comparison to Bald Cypress, Pond Cypress is somewhat smaller, has appressed, spirally arranged leaves, the root knees are more rounded, and it usually grows on pond margins as opposed to in the water. Some experts consider Pond Cypress to be a different species, namely T. ascendens, or Dwarf Cypress.

The tree grows easily in in average, medium to wet, moisture-retentive but reasonably well-drained soils in full sun. It prefers moist, acidic, sandy soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions ranging from average moisture soils to wet soils in standing water. It is a low maintenance tree with easy fall cleanup. It has a large taproot and is slightly salt tolerant.The sapwood is cream-colored while the heartwood is brown.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Well maintained trees have few problems; however, twig blight is an occasional disease pest. Chlorosis often occurs in alkaline soils.

Compare this plant to: Taxodium distichum

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Taxodium distichum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nutans'
    Weeping Pond Cypress; narrow conical cultivar with short, horizontal branching and drooping branchlets.
  • 'Prairie Sentinel'
'Nutans', 'Prairie Sentinel'
Tags:
#deciduous#wetlands#NC native#native garden#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#Audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nutans'
    Weeping Pond Cypress; narrow conical cultivar with short, horizontal branching and drooping branchlets.
  • 'Prairie Sentinel'
'Nutans', 'Prairie Sentinel'
Tags:
#deciduous#wetlands#NC native#native garden#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains OBL#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#Audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Taxodium
    Species:
    distichum
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The heavy, straight-grained, rot-resistant wood has been used for a variety of purposes including barrels, railroad ties, and shingles. The tree can provide some flood control in wet areas.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South East U.S.A
    Distribution:
    The Gulf region of the Southeastern United States.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds that eat the seeds. Older trees form natural hollows and catamites that are used as cover by wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Mildly resistant to damage by deer, moderately salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Cones are round, wrinkled, 2 inches in diameter, and purplish-green that matures to brown. The scales are thick and irregular. Displays in October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    Non-flowering.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Orange
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Acicular
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Overlapping scale-like leaves up to 1/3 of an inch long that are terete, rather than flattened. Needles with blue gray bloom; held upright; bright orange fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is dark red-brown to silver-brown with many thin, vertical ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Horizontal to ascending branching. Grows a number of thick, heavy branches each with numerous small "branchlets" of leaves.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Erosion
    Fire
    Pollution
    Salt
    Wet Soil