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Taxodium distichum - (L.)Rich.

Common Name Swamp Cypress, Bald cypress, Common Bald Cypress
Family Taxodiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet sites that are under water for at least part of the year[82], and often overlying calcareous soils[43]. Often found where the water is brackish[200].
Range South-eastern N. America - New Jersey to Florida and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun
Taxodium distichum Swamp Cypress, Bald cypress, Common Bald Cypress

J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Taxodium distichum Swamp Cypress, Bald cypress, Common Bald Cypress


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Bloom Color: Brown. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Taxodium distichum is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cupressus disticha.


Woodland Garden Canopy; Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The resin in the cones is used as an analgesic for wounds[149, 227].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Wood

The bark has been used to make cordage[257]. Wood - light, soft, not strong, moderately hard, easily worked, straight grained, very durable in damp soil, takes a good polish. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot[227]. The wood is not given to excessive warping or shrinking[227], it is used for construction, water pipes, vats etc[1, 46, 61, 82, 149, 171, 227].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pest tolerant, Massing, Screen, Specimen, Street tree. Although this plant can be grown in wet soils and shallow water, it thrives in any soil and trees actually grow faster in normal unflooded soils[81]. Established plants succeed in standing water up to 60cm deep[200] - in such a situation the roots develop 'knees', curious cone-shaped structures that grow above the ground[227]. Tolerates the high pH of chalk streams[200]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[200]. Fairly cold-tolerant, but branches can be damaged by temperatures below -10°c[200]. A fairly vigorous tree, it can grow up to 45cm in a year with up to 4cm increase in girth[185]. It has been planted for its timber in S. Europe, especially on alluvial soils[50]. Buds often begin to break in March, but trees do not come properly into leaf until June and growth in height rarely starts before June[185]. A very healthy species in Britain, rarely seen in anything but good health. It seems to be a very long-lived tree in this country with several specimens more than 250 years old[185]. Trees are thought to live for over 1,000 years in the wild[227]. Plants grow best in areas with warm summers[200]. They only produce fertile seeds after long hot summers[200]. The branches are brittle and subject to wind damage, but the tree usually recovers well[81]. Unlike most conifers, this species responds well to coppicing[81]. Special Features:North American native, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If sowing a lot of seed you could sow it in early spring in an outdoor seedbed[78]. Allow the plants to grow on in the seedbed for two years and then plant them into their permanent positions in late autumn or early spring. Cuttings in the late summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

M. Kandl   Sat Nov 30 19:55:38 2002

I would like to get some more information about site preparation, irrigation, fertilization, pest control, pruning, and handling of Bald Cypress. Any web site info where I can turn is greatly appreciated.

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Subject : Taxodium distichum  
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