Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.

Bald Cypress

Newly planted

Newly planted


Family: Taxodiaceae

Genus: Taxodium

Category: Tree - Deciduous

Zones: 4 to 11

Size: 50 to 100' tall, 20 to 30' wide

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun


Adapted to moist to wet sites but also drought tolerant. Prefers an acid soil. Tall, pyramidal form, fast growing, possibly as much as 3' per year in youth. Makes a good specimen tree although knees (protuberances above ground from the roots) may be an issue for some.


'Cascade Falls' - PP#12296 - from New Zealand, introduced by Cedar Lodge Nursery and brought to the US by Stanley and Sons, Boring, OR. Weeping habit. Grows as a groundcover and requires staking to get started.

'Cody's Feathers' - a witch's broom from Wooster, OH - apparently grows fast until cones are produced and then slows - if you pull the cones off you can get the size you want and then let the cones form to slow it down!

'Michelson' Shawnee Brave® - narrow form introduced by Earl Cully

Subordinate taxa: 


Published in Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. 16: 298 in 1810.

Native to eastern and central US including South Carolina and Georgia. State tree of Louisiana.

Basionym Cupressus disticha L. - Linnaeus cites Catesby's Natural History Volume I Plate 11.

'Distichum' = in two ranks.

Introduced to western gardens by John Tradescant around 1640.

RHS Award of Garden Merit 2002, Award of Merit 1973.


My Experience: 

I purchased a 1-gallon whip at a plant swap in 2007. It lived in a large pot until summer 2010 when I planted it in the ground. From 2007 to the end of 2008 that time it grew several feet and branched out. It had a central leader but the two topmost branches pointed up also and were higher than the central leader. I figured it would grow more when planted but it filled out without gaining height in the first year in the ground. In late spring 2010 I moved it - still no upward growth. I didn't want to prune it because of the move, but eventually did so in the summer. I cut off the two topmost branches leaving a clear central leader. It immediately started growing and gained 12 to 18" during the rest of the summer. The next two years it gained a little in height and filled out a lot more. By summer 2012 it was impossible to see where the gaps had been from the branches being cut out.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner