Taxodium distichum
Common name: 
Baldcypress
Swamp cypress
Pronunciation: 
taks-O-di-um DIS-ti-kum
Family: 
Cupressaceae, Taxodiaceae
Genus: 
Synonyms: 
Taxodium distichum var. distichum
Type: 
Conifer
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Deciduous conifer, 50-70 ft (15-21 m) tall, 20-30 ft (6-9 m) wide, narrow, pyramidal when young.  In swamps it develops a large flares at the base of the trunk, the so-called "cypress knees", which are derived from lateral roots.  Leaves needle-like, alternate, 15-20 mm long, linear-lanceolate, 2-ranked, or scale-like and appressed, (the two forms may appear on the same branch or separate trees), soft, mid-vein prominent, yellowish-green above, whitened below, may turn a rich brown in autumn.  Cones globular, 1.5-3.5 cm in diam. at ends of previous year's twigs.
  • Sun, grows well on deep, fine, sandy loam, acid soil.  Very adaptable to wet, dry and well drained soil.  The "cypress knees" apparently only develop when grown in or near water for most of the year.   Used in bonsai.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      Native from Delaware to Florida, west to Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.      Several selections available, including:
    • 'Cascade Falls'  -  tree or shrub, with a pendulous habit
    • Green Wispers®  -  tree, upright pyramidal form, vigorous growth to 55 ft high and 30 ft spread (17 × 9 m)
    • Lindsey's Skyward™  -  tree, ascending branches, narrow columnar form, 25 ft tall and only 10 ft wide
    • 'Peve Minaret'  -  shurb, dwarf, 8 ft (2.4 m) tall and 4 ft (1.2 m) wide, dense branching; leaves "fern-like"
    • 'Secrest'  -   shrub, dwarf, relatively low and spreading habit, slow growing
  • Taxodium ascendens, Pond Cypress, is similar, but smaller, has shorter needles, and is less cold-hardy than T. distichum. Now the Pond Cypress is commonly designated as a botanical variety of T. distichum, recently as T. distichum var. imbricarium.
  • Taxodium: resembles Taxus;  distichum: in two ranks (the leaves).
  • At the University of Oregon, in Eugene, trees along the Millrace near Franklin Boulevard have small "knees".
  • Hesston, Kansas:  Dyck Arboretum of the Plains
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: south of Benton Hall.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit and flowers (cones), spring

    plant habit and flowers (cones), spring

  • plant habit, summer (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, Hesston, KS)

    plant habit, summer (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, Hesston, KS)

  • plant habit, summer (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

    plant habit, summer (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • trees in city landscape

    trees in city landscape

  • branches

    branches

  • branchlets

    branchlets

  • branchlets

    branchlets

  • brachlets, comparison

    brachlets, comparison

  • plant habit, with cones

    plant habit, with cones

  • cones and brachlets

    cones and brachlets

  • cones and brachlets

    cones and brachlets

  • plant habit, fall (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

    plant habit, fall (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

  • branchlets, fall

    branchlets, fall

  • cones at seed release, fall

    cones at seed release, fall

  • branches, comparison

    branches, comparison

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • plant habit, winter (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

    plant habit, winter (Dyck Arboretum of the Plains)

  • winter twigs, buds

    winter twigs, buds

  • "cypress knees"

    "cypress knees"