Taxodium distichum

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taxodium.distischum.jpg (96053 bytes) cypress forest.jpg (109270 bytes)
habit--notice how the cypresses like to have their feet wet? typical look of a creek in central Texas--baldcypresses line the creek bank

Taxodium distichum youngleaves.jpg (65177 bytes)

leaves--at first glance, these leaves appear compound--in reality, they are simple.  The needles are arranged in two ranks (that is, they occur in exactly two rows on each side of the stem)--this is called distichous (hence the epithet distichum). leaves dying in Fall--Taxodium distichum is one of only a few species of deciduous conifers, and it is the only one in Texas (and that's why it's called "bald" cypress!)

Taxodium distichum bark.jpg (96885 bytes)

Taxodium distichum barktexture.jpg (113566 bytes)
bark bark again, showing the texture
Taxodium distichum trunks.jpg (103115 bytes)
the trunks of cypresses flare out at the base--when cypresses grow in swamps, they develop "knees"--knobby structures that stick out of the water around the base of the tree.  There is still no consensus about what these knees do! immature female cones--these are fleshy and green while they develop...

...and they will eventually darken to a brown color (as these are doing), and then dry out at maturity. male cones developing in Summer