Taxodium distichum - Bald Cypress
Family: Cupressaceae

Hear the scientific name

Taxodium distichum is a very upright, pyramidal, stately tree that tolerates dry to very wet sites. Bald Cypress has fine-textured, medium green summer foliage, good orange-brown autumn foliage, ornamental red-brown exfoliating bark, and winter catkins.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form Form

-large tree, deciduous conifer

-maturing at about 70' tall x 30' wide under urban conditions, but much larger in the wild (where in the Southern U.S. it may have Spanish Moss hanging from its branches)

-upright pyramidal growth habit, sometimes becoming upright conical with age

-rapid growth rate

foliage Foliage

-spirally arranged along the stems, with the leaves on deciduous branchlet

-linear, very fine-textured, medium green in summer, and becoming cinnamon-brown in autumn before abscising


-monoecious, pendulous staminate immature inflorescences to 4" in winter, pistillate flowers, ornamentally insignificant

-Mar.-Apr., with the staminate flowers elongating and swaying in the breeze


-1" brown cones maturing in 1 yr., often go unnoticed


-stems light green and thin, becoming brown with prominent rounded leaf scars

trunk2 trunk Trunk

-exfoliating in thin strips with a red-brown color

-trunk very straight with a strong central leader, slowly tapering to the apex

-buttressing "knees" may develop if the roots are submerged in water

C   U   L   T   U   R   E


-full sun

-prefers acidic soils but is adaptable to heavy, alkaline soils (alkaline soils may result in some chlorosis)

-tolerates very dry or very wet sites

-prefers sandy soils

-virtually no diseases or pests of significance

-moderately available, primarily in B&B

distribution map


-zones 4 to 9


-native to Southern U.S. swamps, rivers, and bayous

U   S   A   G   E


-stately and formal year-round appearance, being a strongly pyramidal focal point that maintains its central leader throughout its life (actually a deciduous conifer)

-rapid growth and establishment

-wet-site-loving and dry-site-adaptable

-ultra-fine-textured foliage (resulting in dappled shade in youth) and fine-textured true stems

-exfoliating strips of subtly ornamental cinnamon bark

-rich cinnamon-brown autumn leaf color

-leaf cleanup in autumn is minimal or not needed

catkins in late winter and early spring are attractive on mature trees as they sway in the wind

-bark and wood is processed from natural stands in the Southeastern U.S. as a slow-decaying, orange-brown mulch


-none serious

-taproot system makes B&B transplant success difficult with larger caliper saleable trees (hence the practices of field root-pruning of saplings while in production, or growing in containers, should alleviate this problem)


-specimen or focal point tree

-wet or dry site tree


-fine textured in foliage and when bare

-average density in foliage and when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-stately pyramidal trees of deciduous foliage (Alnus glutinosa, Liquidambar styraciflua, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Oxydendrum arboreum, etc.)

-evergreen foliage (Abies concolor, Picea abies, Picea pungens, Pinus strobus 'Fastigiata', Tsuga canadensis, etc.)

-trees that perform very well in both dry or wet sites (Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Gleditsia triacanthos, Quercus palustris, Salix alba, etc.)

-trees with fine texture, at least when in foliage (Gleditsia triacanthos, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Quercus phellos, Salix babylonica, etc.)

-other deciduous conifers (Larix, Metasequoia, Pseudolarix)


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