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Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum

Description

Taxodium distichum, commonly called bald cypress, is a long-lived, pyramidal conifer (cone-bearing tree) which grows 50-70' tall (less frequently to 125'). It is one of the longest living trees in the world and its rings hold years of climate data.  Although it looks like a needled evergreen (same family as redwoods) in summer, it is deciduous ("bald" as the common name suggests). It is native to southern swamps, bayous and rivers, primarily being found in coastal areas from Maryland to Texas and in the lower Mississippi River valley to as far north as the southeast corner of Missouri. 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.

The bald cypress is easily grown 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 somewhat dry soils to wet soils in standing water. This species has been known to tolerate flooded conditions for extended periods of time. The bald cypress is a low maintenance tree with easy fall cleanup. It has a large taproot and is slightly salt tolerant.  The heavy, straight-grained, rot-resistant wood has been used for a variety of purposes including barrels, railroad ties, and shingles.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaves:   Fall                Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

 Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Twig blight is an occasional disease pest. Chlorosis often occurs in alkaline soils.

Cultivars:
  • 'Monarch of Illinsis'
Tags:
#native#birds#bark#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#tsc#clay soil#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#wet sites#nesting#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Monarch of Illinsis'
Tags:
#native#birds#bark#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#cover plant#tsc#clay soil#air pollution tolerant#showy fruits#wet sites#nesting#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Taxodium
    Species:
    distichum
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA
    Distribution:
    Southeastern US
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Ducks eat the seeds.  Hollows and natural cavities that form in older trees are used as cover by wildlife.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire, moderately resistant to damage by deer, slightly salt tolerant,
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 45 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Cones on the Bald cypress are rounded, wrinkled, 1 inch in diameter, purplish-green that mature to brown.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Foliage is 1/4" long, flat needles in two ranks. It is soft, feathery, yellowish-green in the spring, sage green in summer, and orange/cinnamon-brown in the fall. Its small leaves spiral around the stem.
  • Bark:
    Bark Description:
    Trunks are flared or fluted (buttressed) at the base. In water, they develop knobby root growths ("knees") which protrude above the water surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Erosion
    Pollution
    Salt
    Wet Soil