Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Taxodium distichum


Bald cypress, Baldcypress, Common bald cypress, Southern bald cypress, Deciduous cypress


Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)



Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress)
Kircus, Marilyn
This lofty, deciduous conifer grows 50-75 ft. or taller. It is slender and conical in youth, becoming flat-topped in very old age. Sage-green, bipinnately compound leaves, which look more like feathers than needles, turn copper before falling. A tapering trunk is slightly buttressed at the swollen base. Knees develop mostly in poorly drained sitations. Exfoliating bark is red-brown to silver. Large, needle-leaf, aquatic, deciduous tree often with cone-shaped knees projecting from submerged roots, with trunks enlarged at base and spreading into ridges or buttresses, and with a crown of widely spreading branches, flattened at top.

Called the wood eternal because of the heartwoods resistance to decay, Bald Cypress is used for heavy construction, including docks, warehouses, boats, bridges, as well as general millwork and interior trim. The trees are planted as ornamentals northward in colder climates and in drier soils. Easily seen in Big Cypress National Preserve near Naples, Florida, as well as in appropriate conditions throughout the rest of its natural range, which comprises much of southeastern North America from Delaware south to Florida, west along the coast to eastern Oklahoma and Central Texas, with populations also following the Mississippi River drainage as far north as Illinois and Indiana, and continuing further south through Mexico to Guatemala. Pond Cypress (T. ascendens Brongn.), a species with shorter, scale-like leaves, is found in shallow ponds and poorly drained areas from southeastern Virginia to southeastern Louisiana below 100 feet (30 m) elevation.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: 50-75 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MS , MO , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Eastern North America from DE (or possibly s. NY) to FL, w. along the coast and following inland waterways to s. IL, s.e. OK, & ctl. TX, s. through Mexico to Guatemala.
Native Habitat: Swamps; stream banks, Along streams and riparian areas in moist soils. Sand, loam, clay, limestone; poor drainage is fine.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Wet, acidic mucks, sands & loams. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: Bald cypress is a majestic tree with soft, ferny foliage that enhances many landscapes. Enjoy the terra cotta hue of the foliage around Thanksgiving. Adapted to riverine habitats, the roots are not susceptible to suffocation making bald cypress a common candidate for parking lots. Deciduous conifer adaptable to wet or semi dry conditions. Does well in full sun. Bald refers to the deciduous nature uncommon among other conifers.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Fall conspicuous, Long-living, Attractive
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Seeds-granivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Taxodium distichum is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Baldcypress sphinx
(Isoparce cupressi)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-09-06