WSU Clark County Extension

PNW Plants Searchable, categorized images


Scientific name: Taxodium distichum

Type:Coniferous trees
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 9
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:75 ft
Width:25 ft
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description While Baldcypress is commonly found in the swamps of the southeast United States it will grow well in the maritime Pacific Northwest, especially along streams and ponds.

This conifer is unique in that it boasts a deciduous habit. The leaves are needle-like, and arranged in an alternate fashion. Conversely, Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostrobus) has needles which are opposite. The needles on Baldcypress are lanceolate in shape and shorter (3/4” in length) than those of Dawn Redwood.

Here in the Northwest Baldcypress can grow to 75’ in height, with a width of 25’. It is best defined as having a pyramid shape.

During the summer the foliage is sage green. As that days shorten in the fall the needles russet and turn a pleasing brown to orangish brown color. They are soft to the touch.

Cones are composed of peltate scales forming a woody, brown sphere with rough surfaces, ¾- 1 inch in diameter. Mature cones will soon disintegrate into irregular seeds.

The bark is reddish brown and fibrous. A notable characteristic of trees grown near water is the presence of flared swellings on the lower trunk known as ‘knees’. The knees only develop when the tree is grown near water for most of its life.

Baldcypress needs full sun. It will survive in a variety of soils, but does best in areas adjacent to swamps, flood plains and along the edges of lakes and rivers. This is a native of the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from southeastern Delaware to southern Texas and up the Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois.

None reported in the Pacific Northwest.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234