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Needles

Taxodium distichum

Common Name: Bald Cypress
Family: Cupressaceae


Entry Author:  J. Rogers and C. Westring
Description:  Young trees display distinctive tapered trunk and a sparse conical crown; with age, trunk becomes more cylindrical and crown more flattened.  Most distinctive characteristics are "knees" (pneumatophores), conical structures that rise from the roots and appear above the soil and water.  Old-growth trees reaching 400-600 years of age (sometimes known to be 1200 years)                
N
eedles:  Spirally-arranged needles that are flattened and scale-like with obvious stomata on underside; green needles, turning gold brown and red before falling off (a deciduous tree)
Cones: 
Small, globular, up to 2.5 cm in diameter
Bark: 
Scaly fibrous bark of a reddish brown color
Stems, Branching Pattern, Etc.:  Horizontal branches
Height: From 30-35 meters at maturity (max. 45 m)
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest:  Best growth achieved in deep sandy loams with plenty of moisture in the surface layers and moderately good drainage.  Fresh water swamps and zones of brackish tidewater. 
Range:  Southeastern U.S. stretching from Virginia to Florida and west to Texas
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide:  Threatened in Indiana 
Uses (Human):  Important wood valued for its durability and resistance to decay.  Used as rail ties, posts, construction work, and shingles. 

References:

Harlow, W.M., Harrar, E.S., & White, F.M. Text Book of Dendrology:  Covering the Important Forest Trees of the United States and Canada (3rd ed.).  New York:  McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Petrides, G.A.  Peterson Field Guides: A field guide to trees and shrubs (2nd ed.).  New York:  Hougton Mifflin, 1986.

UConn Plant Database.  University of Connecticut.  Accessed:  December 21, 2005.  <http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/>

USDA, NRCS. 2005. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

This page was created by: J. Chichester, Northampton Community College, and K. Rice and C. Westring, Muhlenberg College
Last updated 12/21/05