Bald Cypress Tree
September 14, 2012 by staff
Bald Cypress Tree, Taxodium distichum (bald cypress, baldcypress, bald-cypress, cypress, southern-cypress,white-cypress, tidewater red-cypress, Gulf-cypress, red-cypress, or swamp cypress) is a deciduous conifer that grows on saturated and seasonally inundated soils of the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains of the United States.
It is a large tree, reaching 25-40 m (rarely to 44 m) tall and a trunk diameter of 2-3 m, rarely to 5 m. The bark is gray-brown to red-brown, shallowly vertically fissured, with a stringy texture. The leaves are borne on deciduous branchlets that are spirally arranged on the stem, but twisted at the base to lie in two horizontal ranks, 1-2 cm long and 1-2 mm broad; unlike most other species in the family Cupressaceae, it is deciduous, losing its leaves in the winter months, hence the name ‘bald’.
It is monoecious. Male and female strobili mature in about 12 months; they are produced from buds formed in the late fall, with pollination in early winter. The seed cones are green maturing gray-brown, globular, and 2-3.5 cm in diameter. They have from 20 to 30 spirally arranged, four-sided scales, each bearing one or two (rarely three) triangular seeds. The number of seeds per cone ranges from 20 to 40. The cones disintegrate when mature to release the large seeds. The seeds are 5-10 mm long, the largest of any species in the cypress family, and are produced every year, but with heavy crops every three to five years. The seedlings have three to 9 (most often six) cotyledons.
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