The common baldcypress 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 baldcypress 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 trees on the Harlem Meer near the Dana Discovery Center that have a profusion of knees, 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.
LeavesNeedles arranged in two rows on either side of a narrow stem
Fruit0.5-1 inches diameter, globe-shaped cones, change from green to brown
Flower4-5 inch clusters, pendulous, monoecious (male and female organs)
BarkAttractive reddish-brown, vertically fibrous, fissured