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Taxodium distichum var. distichum

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Kemper Code:  M510

Common Name: bald cypress
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Tree
Family: Cupressaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Height: 50 to 70 feet
Spread: 20 to 45 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering  
Bloom Color: Brown
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low


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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, moisture retentive but reasonably well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, sandy soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions ranging from somewhat dry soils to wet soils in standing water.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Bald cypress is a long-lived, pyramidal conifer (cone-bearing tree) which grows 50-70' tall (less frequently to 125'). Although it looks like a needled evergreen (same family as redwoods) in summer, it is deciduous ("bald" as the common name suggests). It is native to southern swamps, bayous and rivers, primarily being found in coastal areas from Maryland to Texas and in the lower Mississippi River valley to as far north as the southeast corner of Missouri. In the deep South, it is a familiar sight growing directly in swampy water, often in large strands, with its branches heavily draped with Spanish moss. In cultivation, however, it grows very well in drier, upland soils. Trunks are buttressed (flared or fluted) at the base, and when growing in water, often develop distinctive, knobby root growths ("knees") which protrude above the water surface around the tree. Soft, feathery, yellowish-green foliage (1/4" long, flat needles in two ranks) turns an attractive orange/cinnamon-brown in fall. Rounded, wrinkled, 1 inch diameter, purplish-green cones mature to brown. Heavy, straight-grained, rot-resistant wood has been used for a variety of purposes including barrels, railroad ties and shingles. Closest relative is the dawn redwood (Metasequoia) which is also deciduous. Taxodium in Greek means resembling yews (Taxus) in reference to the flat needles. State tree of Louisiana.

Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Chlorosis often occurs in alkaline soils. Bagworms, gall mites and spider mites are occasional insect pests and twig blight is an occasional disease pest.

Uses:

A large ornamental tree for parks or large lawns. Good selection for growing in wet soils either in low spots or near water.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011


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