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Taxodium distichum

(Bald Cypress)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Arabic:


Common Names in Bulgarian:

Блатен кипарис

Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:

Xiprer dels pantans

Common Names in Chinese:

落羽杉, 落羽杉 (luo yu shan)

Common Names in Czech:

Tisovec dvouřadý

Common Names in Danish:

Almindelig Sumpcypres

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Bald Cypress, Bald-Cypress, Baldcypress, Common Baldcypress, Cypress, Gulf Cypress, Pond Bald Cypress, Pond Cypress, Pondcypress, Red cypress, Southern cypress, Swamp cypress, White cypress, Yellow cypress

Common Names in French:

cyprès chauve, cyprès de la Louisiane, cyprès des marais, taxode chauve

Common Names in German:

Amerikanische Sumpfzypresse, Echte Sumpfzypresse, Eibenzypresse, Sumpfzeder, Sumpfzypresse, Taxodie

Common Names in Hungarian:

Fésus mocsárciprus

Common Names in Italian:

Cipresso calvo, Cipresso della Luisiana, Cipresso Delle Paludi, Cipresso palustre

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Korean:


Common Names in Latvian:

Floridas purvciprese

Common Names in Persian (Farsi):


Common Names in Polish:

Cypryśnik błotny

Common Names in Portuguese:

cipreste de folha caduca

Common Names in Russian:

болотный кипарис обыкновенный (bolotnyj kiparis obyknovennyj), Таксодиум двурядный

Common Names in Slovak:

tisovec dvojradový

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

ciprés calvos, ciprés de los pantanos, taxódio distico


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Family Cupressaceae

Trees or shrubs evergreen , monoecious or dioecious. Leaves decussate or in whorls of 3, scalelike and then often dimorphic with flattened facial leaves and keeled lateral leaves, or needlelike particularly in juvenile plants , often with an abaxial resin gland . Pollen cones terminal or axillary , solitary, maturing and shed annually; microsporophylls 6-16, decussate or whorled , each bearing (2 or) 3-6(-9) pollen sacs ; pollen wingless. Seed cones usually terminal, solitary, globose , ovoid , or oblong , dehiscent or indehiscent when mature in 1st or 2nd(or 3rd) year; cone scales developing after ovules originate in bract axils; bracts almost completely enveloped by cone scales, free only at apex; ovules 1-numerous per bract axil, erect ; cone scales of mature cones 3-16, flat or peltate, woody, leathery, or succulent, 1-20-seeded. Seeds winged or not; wings derived from seed coat . Cotyledons usually 2, rarely 3-6. Germination epigeal.

Nineteen genera and ca. 125 species: worldwide; eight genera (one introduced ) and 46 species (16 endemic, 13 introduced) in China.[1]

Genus Taxodium

Trees deciduous or evergreen . Branchlets terete . Lateral roots commonly producing erect , irregularly conic to rounded "knees" in periodically flooded habitats . Leaves alternate, in 2 ranks or not. Adult leaves divergent to strongly appressed , linear or linear-lanceolate to deltate, generally flattened, free portion to ca. 17 mm; abaxial glands absent. Pollen cones with 10--20 sporophylls, each sporophyll with 2--10 pollen sacs . Seed cones maturing and shattering in 1 season , nearly globose ; scales falling early, 5--10, valvate , ± peltate, thin and woody. Seeds (1--) 2 per scale, irregularly 3-angled, wingless; cotyledons 4--9. x = 11.

Species 1(--3) : North America, Mexico, Central America in Guatemala.

The pollen cones are usually borne at the base of alternate leaves, forming pendent axillary panicles; they occur less commonly singly or in racemes .

Taxodium is variously treated as one to three species but treated here as one polymorphic species with two varieties in the flora . A third taxon tentatively accorded varietal rank--- Taxodium distichum (Linnaeus) Richard var. mexicanum Gordon (= Taxodium mucronatum Tenore) ---and recognized by some authors as occurring within our range , appears to differ only in minor phenological characters. Whether or not populations from farther south in Mexico and Guatemala differ sufficiently for formal taxonomic recognition at any rank has yet to be determined.[2]

Physical Description

Species Taxodium distichum

Trees seasonally cladoptosic ; trunk enlarged basally and often conspicuously buttressed ; crown monopodial and conic when young, often becoming irregularly flattopped or deliquescent (branched and so divided that the main axis cannot be determined) with age. Shoot system conspicuously dimorphic , long shoots indeterminate, bearing individually abscising, linear to lanceolate leaves, short shoots determinate, abscising in autumn with their leaves, variable, intergrading, at one extreme pendent to horizontally spreading , bearing decurrent, narrowly linear and laterally divergent leaves in 2 rows , at other extreme strictly ascending to occasionally pendent, bearing short-lanceolate to deltate and tightly appressed leaves. Pollen cones in pendent panicles to ca. 25 cm, 2--3 mm, conspicuous in winter prior to pollination. Seed cones 1.5--4 cm. [source]

The two varieties recognized in the flora are indistinguishable in reproductive characteristics and continuously intergrading in morphologic and phenologic characteristics, although pure populations of the extremes appear morphologically and ecologically distinct . Unlike the varieties in the flora, var. mexicanum is annually cladoptosic, with determinate short shoots abscising concomitantly with expansion of shoots of the following year. Specimens from juvenile individuals, stump sprouts, fertile branchlets , terminal vegetative branchlets, or late-season growth may not be determinable to variety. [source]

ID Features: Spiral leaf arrangement on most stems. Compare to Metasequoia glyptostroboides which has opposite leaf. arrangement. Slender twigs with raised leaf scars. "knees" on plants in wet sites. Buttressed trunks. Reddish brown bark. Airy foliage. Deciduous conifer. Conical habit.

Habit: Deciduous.

Flowers: Monoecious. Make flowers in pendulous 4" to 5" clusters . Female flowers are cones. Bloom time is March and April. • Bloom Period: March, April, May. • Flower Color: inconspicuous, none • Flower Conspicuous: None

Seeds: Fruit: Globe-shaped cones. Change from green to brown. 0.5" to 1" diameter.

Foliage: Needle-like leaves have a feathery, delicate look, yellow-tinged • Foliage Shape: LinearNormal foliage color: Green • Underside foliage: Green • Juvenile foliage: Green • Mature foliage: Green • New foliage: Green • Spring foliage: Green • Summer foliage: Leaves are deciduous. Stems are either persistent or deciduous. Persistent stems hold spirally-arranged needles and deciduous stems. Deciduous stems hold needles in 2-rankes and lack buds. Needle leaves are flattened, 0.33" to 0.75" long. Foliage emerges bright yellow-green and matures to a soft green. Leaves emerge late in the spring . • Fall foliage: Needles turn orange-brown in fall .


Growth Rate: Slow to moderate. • Size: over 40' tall.


Landscape Uses: As a lawn tree . For shade. For decoration. Useful is wet sites. Works well at pond edges . Shows well in groupings or groves. Airy foliage texture useful. • Liabilities: A number of diseases and insects can attack weakened trees . Typically trouble free . Perhaps spider mites pose the greatest threat in Connecticut. • Care: Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system . Watering can be reduced after establishment. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring .


North America, Mexico, Central America in Guatemala. [source]

Cold hardy in zone 5, perhaps warmer zone 4. Generally found in wet swampy areas, often in standing water .

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 4,852 meters (0 to 15,919 feet).[3]


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 15-20' apart.

Soil: Adaptable to wet or dry soil. • Minimum pH: 5.6 • Maximum pH: 7.5

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Moisture: Water Requirements: Forms knees in wet areas.

Temperature: Heat Zones: High: 12 (>210 days) Low:5 (>30 to 45 days) (map) • Cold Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b. (map)


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Basionym : Cupressaceae Cupressus disticha L.

Basionym author: (L.)

Was formerly included under the family Taxodiaceae. The Taxodiaceae is now merged with Cupressaceae (see Farjon 2001).[4].

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Taxodium

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 16 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

T. ascendens 'Debonair' (Pond Cypress) · T. ascendens 'Prairie Sentinel' (Pond Cypress) · T. distichum (Bald Cypress) · T. distichum formapendens (Bald Cypress) · T. distichum imbricarium (Taxodium Ascendens) · T. distichum var. distichum (Swamp Cypress) · T. distichum var. imbricarium 'Nutans' (Nodding Pond Cypress) · T. distichum var. imbricatum (Pond Cypress) · T. distichum var. imbricatum 'Prairie Sentinel' (Prairie Sentinel Bald-Cypress) · T. distichum 'Cascade Falls' (Weeping Bald Cypress) · T. distichum 'Monarch of Illinois' (Bald Cypress) · T. distichum 'Nelson' (Bald Cypress) · T. distichum 'Peve Minaret' (Pave Minaret Bald Cypress) · T. distichum 'Secrest' (Bald Cypress) · T. distichum 'Shawnee Brave' (Bald Cypress) · T. mucronatum (Montezuma Bald Cypress)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 19, 2007:



  1. Liguo Fu, Yong-fu Yu, Robert P. Adams & Aljos Farjon "Cupressaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 62. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Frank D. Watson "Taxodium". in Flora of North America Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 107.440 meters (352.493 feet), Standard Deviation = 325.770 based on 751 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  4. Conifer Specialist Group 1998. Taxodium distichum. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 February 2012. ... [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06