Landowner Fact Sheets

baldcypress Taxodium distichum play

Baldcypress is a deciduous conifer common to low-lying, often swampy terrain in the U.S. southeast. The wood of baldcypress is relatively decay resistant and serves a variety of purposes. Baldcypress dominated ecosystems are typically rich in wildlife diversity.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Bald cypress is intermediate in shade tolerance and this allows for regeneration by shelterwood, seed-tree, group selection, and clearcutting methods. Upland and away from saturated sites, removal of competition for first few years is advised.

Baldcypress is most often found in permanent swamps, although if competition is removed it may survive in a variety of conditions.


A large tree with a pyramid-shaped crown, cylindrical bole, fluted or buttressed base and often with knees.

Timber Value
Baldcypress is used for building materials, fences, boat planking, river pilings, furniture, interior trim, cabinetry, sills, rafters, siding, flooring, shingles.

Wildlife Value
Seeds are eaten by a variety of waterfowl and wading birds. Catfish spawn in submerged, decayed logs.
Attracts squirrel, turkey, wood ducks, evening grosbeaks, warblers, osprey, bald eagles

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Cypress wood is rot resistant and slow growingresulting in tremendous longevity. The oldest known baldcypress is over 1600 years old. Cypress "knees" grow upward from the roots in flooded situations. The function of these knees is unknown but may assist in supplying oxygen to submerged root systems. Baldcypress trees are enjoyed ornamentally as far north as Syracuse, New York.

Latin Meaning
Taxodium: from Taxus and Greek "eidos" (resemblence to Taxus) / distichum: in two rows (leaves) Greek "di" (two) and "stichos" (rank)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.