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TAXODIUM distichum

Image of Taxodium distichum

Felder Rushing

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

TAXODIUM distichum

Plant Common Name

Bald Cypress

General Description

A mature bald cypress is a wonderfully regal tree. This tall, upright, deciduous conifer has exquisitely soft, delicate needles that look feathery along its tiered branches. It is naturally distributed in low, moist locations across much of the central and eastern United States. Mature specimens develop a broad pyramidal habit and become very large.

In spring, its bare branches become covered with soft, compound needles that are bright spring green. These darken by summer and turn a gorgeous russet orange-red in fall before they drop. Fallen bald cypress needles create soft natural mulch at the tree bases. Bald cypress has gently peeling bark that’s attractive all season. When growing in standing water or moist areas the roots send up "knees" or vertical root protrusions. These have visual appeal and inspire conversation.

Though associated with wet locations, bald cypress is tremendously adaptable and well-suited to drier locations and even urban sites. It grows best in sunny spots and can tolerate all but the driest, most alkaline soils. Plant it as a lone specimen or clustered in groves on the edges of streams and lakes. It makes a good streetside tree but needs plenty of space for its roots to roam.

Numerous cultivars now exist for gardens, including the weeping 'Fallingwater' and 'Cascade Falls'. Also look for the densely branching 'Sofine' (known under the trademark name Autumn Gold™) and 'JFS-SGPN' (Green Whisper®), which has exceptionally soft and feathery foliage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    70'-130' / 21.3m - 39.6m (80)

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Pollution, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green, Bronze, Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Copper, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sienna, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes