This stately conifer, native to the Midwest, often is found in groupings in parks and larger spaces, along streets, and around lakes. Unlike most cone-bearing trees, bald-cypress loses its needles each winter and grows a new set in spring. The russet-red fall color of its lacy needles is one of its outstanding characteristics. Hardy and tough, this tree will adapt to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, dry, or even swampy.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9,
- Zone 10,
- Zone 11
- Acid soil,
- Wet soil
- Dry sites,
- Wet sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Clay soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Moderately Tolerant
- Fall color,
- Attractive bark
Seasons of Interest:
- late summer,
- early fall,
- mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Small mammals,
- Water birds
photo: John Hagstrom
Tree & Plant Care
Best grown in full sun in wet, dry, and swampy locations.
Acid soils are best. May show chlorosis symptoms (yellowing) in high pH (alkaline) soil.
Disease, pests, and problems
The bald cypress is susceptible to twig blight, spider mite, gall forming mite, and cypress moths.
Native geographic location and habitat
Southern US, especially wetlands and coastal areas.
Bark color and texture
Attractive, fibrous, reddish-brown bark.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Soft, feathery needles turn russet-red in autumn before falling. This is one of the few conifers (cone-bearing trees) that loses its needles in winter and grows a new set in spring.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male and female flowers in separate structures on the same tree; inconspicuous.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small round cones stay on branches into the winter.
Cascade Falls bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’) is a weeping form, 8 to 20 feet high.
Green Whisper® bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘JFS-SGPN’) has very bright green foliage. The tree has a very soft , feathery look.
Peve Minaret bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Peve Minaret’) is a dwarf cultivar growing 8 to 10 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.
Shawnee Brave® bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Mickelson’) is narrowly pyramidal, 50 feet high and 20 feet wide, good for small urban spaces.