Common Name: bald cypress

Scientific Name: 
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Taxodium
Species: distichum

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 50 to 70 ft
Width: 20 to 45 ft


Bald cypress is a very unusual tree. It is a conifer, but it drops all of its leaves in the fall. These leaves are flat and feathery. The leaves branch multiple times to make complex patterns. It produces small cones that look like brown soccer balls. Bald cypress has pointed, scaly buds, and green twigs that will become brown after the first year of growth. These trees grow naturally in the swampy portions of the southern United States but can be planted throughout the country and in Canada. When bald cypress is in swamps, it has roots that protrude above the water, called ‘knees’. Knees allow the roots to absorb oxygen that is not present in constantly saturated swamps. Bald cypress seeds germinate in saturated soil, but will not grow the well-drained soil that most plants prefer because of competition. Bald cypress can tolerate a wide variety of soils and moisture levels as a mature tree. This adaptability, as well as the tree’s high salt tolerance, make it a suitable urban tree. It is not often seen in Minnesota, however, because it can suffer damage from the cold winters.

bald cypress form