The bald cypress, often overgrown with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), is the tree that gives the Louisiana bayous and the Florida everglades their exotic atmosphere. Despite its association with the South, the bald cypress is hardy and adaptable to many parts of the continent.
Description of bald cypress: The bald cypress has a pyramidal shape similar to other conifers, with a broad buttressed base. It reaches up to 100 feet in height in its native environment, but rarely more than 70 feet in culture. In wet situations it develops 'cypress knees': curious growths which rise out of the ground or water and are believed to help the tree breathe in swampy conditions. The short green needles turn brown and drop off in the fall. Its bark is fibrous and an attractive reddish brown. The small, rounded cones are of little decorative effect.
How to grow bald cypress: Considering its origins in the Louisiana bayous and other warm, wet places, the bald cypress is surprisingly adaptable. It grows well in dry soils and has been grown in climates as diverse as Minnesota and southern Canada. It grows best in full sun on rich, sandy loams.
Uses for bald cypress: This stately tree makes a good specimen for parks and large lots. It is a good street tree and, of course, is particularly choice for swampy areas where few other trees will grow.
Bald cypress related varieties: There are a few selections with narrow pyramidal habits or more weeping growth than the species.
Scientific name for bald cypress: Taxodium distichumWant more gardening information? Try: