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Bald Cypress

TREES

GENUS/SPECIES


Taxodium distichum

FAMILY


Cupressaceae
(formerly in separate family Taxodiaceae)

SYNONYMS


Common: Baldcypress, Swamp Cypress

DISTRIBUTION


Southeastern US

  • S Delaware along Atlantic Coastal Plain to S Florida
  • Florida westward through Gulf Coastal Plain to central Texas
  • Northward along Mississippi Valley to S Illinois and SW Indiana

Comments

Although this species is a conifer, it drops all its leaves in the winter. When it is growing in water or saturated soil, it develops a swollen trunk in addition to “knees” which are vertical extensions of the roots believed to supply oxygen to the roots; cultivated trees typically lack both features. Leaves are borne on small twigs, and usually the leaves and twigs fall as a unit in the autumn after turning a coppery color. The male flowers are “stringlike” and the female cones are like balls and about an inch in diameter. Pollen is dispersed by wind. Trees may become covered by Spanish moss (Tillandsia, an epiphytic bromeliad).