Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)
Category: Deciduous Trees
Baldcypress is a deciduous conifer tree that grows on soaked and seasonally swamped soils of the Gulf Coastal Plains and Southeastern parts of the United States. This tree variety is called by other names, such as white-cypress, southern-cypress, tidewater red-cypress and Gulf-cypress. This tree attains its name because the it loses all its leaves during the winter months, and appears as a leafless tree. The nativity of the Baldcypress tree ranges from the south of Delaware Bay to Florida and southeastern parts of Oklahoma and west to East Texas.
Baldcypress is a big tree that can grow up to a height, ranging from 25 meters to 40 meters with a trunk diameter ranges from 2 meters to 3 meters. The bark of this tree variety is gray-brown to red-brown in color, shallowly perpendicularly fissured, with a tough texture. The leaves of the Baldcypress are borne on deciduous branches that are spirally set on the stem, but twisted at the foot to lie in two flat ranks, with an equal length and breadth, ranging from one centimeter to two centimeters. This tree variety bears cones and its evergreen leaves look like a scale or a needle.
Baldcypress trees are monoecious. Female and male strobilus will grown-up in about 12 months and they are produced from sprouts created in the late fall, with pollination in the beginning of the winter season. The seed cones of the tree are green in color initially and will change their color to gray-brown when fully grown and attain a spherical shape. These seed cones will have a diameter, ranging from 2 cm to 3.5 cm. The seed cones have 20 to 30 spirally set four-sided scales, each containing two seeds that are triangular in shape. The amount of seeds for each cone varies from 20 to 40. The cones break up when grown-up to discharge the big seeds. The length of the seeds varies from 5 mm to 10 mm in length, the biggest among the varieties in the cypress family. The Baldcypress tree produces seeds every year, but with intensive crops once in three years to five years. The saplings of the tree will have 3 to 9 cotyledons.
Bald cypress trees are of major significance as the resource of softwood, and supply turpentine and resins, too.
Bald cypress trees are slow growers and they have the longest lifespan that typically extends up to 600 years.