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Common Baldcypress

Common Bald Cypress Tree
The common bald cypress is a unique tree often mistaken for an evergreen. It is a deciduous conifer, forming cones in the summer and dropping needles in fall. Another interesting characteristic: The common bald cypress may develop knees (pneumatophores) at the base of the tree, especially if the base is submerged in water. The exact function of the knees is unknown, but theories suggest they aid in air exchange. There is a group of baldcypress on the Harlem Meer near the Dana Discovery Center that have a profusion of knees that can be easily observed from the shore of the Meer. The baldcypress is related to the giant sequoia and the California redwood. Its wood is decay-resistant and commonly used in marine environments, and for New York City's iconic wooden water towers.

Common Name: Common Baldcypress

Scientific Name: Taxodium distichum

Origin: Southeastern United States

Family: Taxodiaceae

Size: 50 - 70' tall

Form: Pyramidal to conical, especially when young

Culture: Thrives in full sun, tolerant of permanently wet soils and normal soils as long as they are not excessively dry, prefer acidic soils, tolerant of strong winds


Needles arranged in two rows on either side of a narrow stem


4 - 5" clusters, pendulous, monoecious (male and female organs)


0.5 - 1" diameter, globe-shaped cones, change from green to brown


Attractive reddish-brown, vertically fibrous, fissured