Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

BALDCYPRESS
Taxodium distichum var. distichum
Cupressaceae or Taxodiaceae

Needles are alternate, 1/2 inch long, feathery and deciduous. Small branches bearing foliage are deciduous. Bark is red-brown and shreddy. Trunk may swell at base and be surrounded by "knees". Cone is green when young, about 1 inch in diameter, becoming brown and woody with peltate scales when mature. Form of old growth trees is up to 46 m (150 ft) in height and 4 m (12 ft) in diameter; base of the trunk is swollen and fluted, knees are often seen near the base. Baldcypress is found in swamps in the southeastern US. Intermediate shade tolerance. Pondcypress (Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium) is separated from baldcypress by leaves that are appressed to the branch rather than feathery. The soft and decay resistant wood of both species is used for greenhouses, boxes and boats. The seed is eaten by waterfowl. These species are also grouped in Taxodiaceae and are also named Taxodium distichum and Taxodium ascendens.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.
Swamp photograph by Mike Golden.

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