En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Saturday - September 19, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Is bald cypress native to Dallas area?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There are 2 very large bald cypress trees growing beside one another at a park in North Dallas, and I was wondering if they were native or planted a long time ago by the settlers or something. They are each 6-8 feet in diameter at chest high and about 70 feet tall, very similar to the ones along Lady Bird Lake or the Guadalupe River. They are growing about 10 feet above the normal water level of Old Joe's Creek at the crest of the bank. I've never seen any in North Central Texas anywhere close to this size. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) is certainly native to Texas, and East Texas. Its native habitat is swamps; stream banks, streams and riparian areas in moist soils. It likes soils of sand, loam, clay, limestone; poor drainage is fine.

Bald cypress can grow to 138 feet and taller, and have a trunk diameter at chest height of 10 ft. or more. It is a moderately fast-growing tree reaching 40 to 50 feet in about 15 to 25 years. A very rough estimate, based on those figures, is that your tree is in the neighborhood of 35 years old. I think that probably lets out early settlers. 

You did not say what park you were visiting, but we understand that there are bald cypresses growing in Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas.  In a park area, trees may have been planted or the park may have been planned to take advantage of native trees already in place. Without knowing more about the history of the area involved, we couldn't guess how those trees came to be there. Propagation is by seed, and birds are the greatest gardeners around, eating seeds, processing them through their digestive systems and giving them back to the environment, with a little fertilizer added at no charge.

From the Native Plant Image Gallery:


Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Planting fruit and nut trees in Archer, FL.
January 26, 2012 - We're looking to plant a few fruit and nut trees in Archer, Florida. We've been thinking about figs, apples, peaches, oranges, plums, and whatever nuts grow best here (looks like almonds and pecan...
view the full question and answer

Problem with unknown tree in Austin, Texas
July 23, 2013 - Have recently moved to Austin, Texas and have a tree in my backyard that has been dropping leaves and one major branch appears to be dead. That branch has hard rust colored sap circles (about penny si...
view the full question and answer

Small trees for Alberta
March 17, 2011 - I would like to know if there is a short, 15 feet and under, deciduous tree that can be grown outside in Calgary, AB
view the full question and answer

What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
June 10, 2013 - We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center