Monday, October 31, 2016
The Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum
The Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum is a large conical shaped deciduous tree with a domed top. Though it is thought by many to have the appperance of an evergreen most times of the year. Sadly people who are not familiar with this variety of tree will think the tree is dead when the leaves fall off and may rush to remove it. Generally found growing wild in swamp areas and flooding river plains. They are native to much of the Mid to South Eastern United States and planted widely as ornamentals.
Trees growing along the Chesapeake and other tidal areas flare ut at the trunks towards the base and make the trunks look almost disproportionate. Trees growing in brackish lagoon areas tend to grow "knees" which can grow as far away as 20 yards from the tree. It can take 50 years for a tree to grow "knees" , these knees contain spongy wood tissues and are believed to provide roots oxygen.
The leaves are flat, soft, and delicate and approximately 1/2 inch long. They leaves are bright/light green when young and darken with age. They grow alternately on side shoots which are shed completely when the leaves drop in the fall. The male flowers grow in the form of 4 inch catkins while the females are small rounded cones which grow more often then not on different trees.