T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Taxodium
Species: T. distichum
Binomial name: Taxodium distichum
Common name: Swamp Cypress, Baldcypress, Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum is a species of conifer native to the south-eastern United States. It is a tree, reaching 25-40 m (rarely to 44 m) tall and a trunk diameter of 2-3 m, rarely to 5 m.
The bark is grey-brown to red-brown, shallowly vertically fissured, with a stringy texture. The leaves are borne on deciduous branchlets that are spirally arranged on the stem but twisted at the base to lie in two horizontal ranks, 1-2 cm long and 1-2 mm broad; unlike most other species in the family Cupressaceae, it is deciduous, losing the leaves in the winter months, hence the name 'bald'. It is monoecious.
Male and female strobili mature in about 12 months; they are produced from buds formed in the late fall, with pollination in early winter. The seed cones are green maturing gray-brown, globular, 2-3.5 cm in diameter. They have from 20-30 spirally arranged four-sided scales each bearing one or two (rarely three) triangular seeds. The number of seeds per cone ranges from 20-40. The cones disintegrate when mature to release the large seeds. The seeds are 5-10 mm long, the largest of any species in the cypress family, and are produced every year but with heavy crops every three to five years. The seedlings have 3-9 (most often 6) cotyledons.

Taxodium distichum 
 

Swamp cypress foliage


Taxodium distichum in autumn colours..Photographed Ngunguru Road, East Whangarei mid-May.

  

Swamp Cypress trunk

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/