Needles, Pollen cones, and Seed cones
Taxodium distichum is a USA-NPN regional plant species. Regional species are ecologically or economically important and are distributed more locally than calibration species. The NPN integrates these observations to better understand plant responses within the different geographic regions of the nation.
Taxodium distichum is a perennial, deciduous, coniferous tree that can reach 100 to 150 feet in height. The crown of the tree is irregular, broad, and spreading. The branches are brown, and often covered with gray Spanish moss. The bark of the bald cypress is brown, thin, and fibrous, and often peels in strips. Leaves are needlelike, pale green, and turn an orangish-brown before they drop in the fall. Blooms are purple and are monoecious with separate male (pollen) and female (seed) cones. Mature trees develop brown seed cones with scales near the end of their branches. Bald cypress also develops root-like "knees" when grown in wet areas.
Bald cypress usually grows in wetlands along running streams, lakes, and swamps with clayey or fine sandy soils at elevations about 100 feet above sea level. It prefers sun, but can tolerate some shade. Bald cypress can also tolerate cold conditions.
The seeds of bald cypress are eaten by wild turkey, wood ducks, grosbeaks, and squirrels. Other bird species use the branches of bald cypress for foraging. Some species of birds, including bald eagles, use the tops of the tree for nesting. Bald cypress is also the larval host for the baldcypress sphinx moth.
You should observe...
Here are the phenophases you should observe about this plant.
||Breaking needle buds
One or more breaking needle buds are visible on the plant. A needle bud is considered "breaking" once green needle tips are visible at the end of the bud, but before the needles have begun to unfold and spread away from others in the bundle.
One or more live unfolded needles are visible on the plant. A needle is considered "unfolded" once it begins to spread away from other needles in the bundle and is no longer pressed flat against them. Do not include dried or dead needles.
One or more needles (including any that have recently fallen from the plant) have turned to their late-season colors.
One or more needles are falling or have recently fallen from the plant.
One or more fresh male pollen cones (strobili) are visible on the plant. Cones have overlapping scales that are initially tightly closed, then spread apart to open the cone and release pollen. Do not include wilted or dried cones that have released all of their pollen but remain on the plant.
|Open pollen cones
One or more open fresh male pollen cones (strobili) are visible on the plant. Cones are considered "open" when the scales have spread apart to release pollen. Do not include wilted or dried cones that have released all of their pollen but remain on the plant.
One or more male cones (strobili) on the plant release pollen when gently shaken or blown.
||Unripe seed cones
One or more unripe female seed cones are visible on the plant.
|Ripe seed cones
One or more ripe female seed cones are visible on the plant.
|Recent seed cone drop
One or more mature seed cones or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature seed cones that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind.
This species has separate male (pollen) and female (seed) cones.
Taxodium is from a Greek word meaning “yew-like;” distichum means “two-ranked” and refers to the leaves. The bark of the bald cypress has been used to make cords and ropes. Because the wood is highly resistant to rot, it is valuable and used to construct structures that are exposed to wet conditions. Some bald cypress trees in the southern U.S. have been reported to be 1,200 years old. The bald cypress is listed as threatened in the state of Indiana. Taxodium distichum is native to the U.S. and is in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family.
Gardens with this plant