Bald-Cypress – Taxodium distichum

Baldcypress BarkNative to North America, baldcypress can grow to 150 ft. It is the state tree of Louisiana.

Although often seen at water’s edge where it will develop “knees”, or root projections, that will extend above the water, baldcypress can also be grown in dry locations and makes an attractive lawn, street, or shade tree. Cypress knees do not generally form on these drier sites. Cities from Charlotte, NC, Dallas, TX to Tampa, FL currently use it as a street tree. Bald-cypress can be clipped into a formal hedge, creating a wonderful soft screen.

Baldcypress TreeThis bald-cypress at the Morton Arboretum is 50 years old [1]

Narrowly to broadly pyramidal when young, Bald-cypress, the state tree of Louisiana, eventually develops into a broad-topped, spreading, open specimen when mature. Capable of reaching 100 to 150 feet in height, most landscape specimens are rarely seen in this open form because they are usually much younger and shorter. Trees grow at a moderately fast rate, reaching 40 to 50 feet in about 15 to 25 years.

Although it is native to wetlands along running streams, growth is often faster on moist, well-drained soil. The pale green, needle-like leaves turn a brilliant coppery red in fall before dropping, but the bare branches and reddish gray, peeling bark provide much landscape interest during the winter. The trunk grows unusually thick toward the base, even on young trees. The small seeds are used by some birds and squirrels [2].


  1. Bald-cypress, Morton Arboretum acc. 346-60*2, photographed October 12, 2009 by Bruce Marlin
  2. Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson, USDA Forest Service, “Taxodium distichum Baldcypress

Family Cupressaceae – Redwood, Cypress, Juniper, Arborvitae

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