This is the BALD CYPRESS. The bald cypress is a deciduous conifer that sheds its needlelike leaves in the fall. These cypress trees get the name “bald” because they shed their leaves early in the fall season, and they are devoid of foliage in the winter months. These long living and slow growing trees can measure 70 to 100 feet tall and 3 or more feet in diameter. Over time, the reddish-brown bark weathers to gray. The flat needle-like leaves are arranged alternately on small twigs. In the autumn, the leaves turn a beautiful yellow or copper red. Old bald cypress trees are typically hollow inside. Because bald cypress like to grow in wet soil conditions, they are frequently found thriving near swamps. A tree growing in wet soil is strongly secured at the base by the presence of horizontal roots which send up woody projections called “knees” above the waterline or ground. These knees possibly help with oxygenation of the roots or providing support in the soft, muddy soil. A bald cypress thrives in full sun and needs plenty of room to grow.
Bald cypress can be found ranging from mid-Delaware to the southeast United States and westward to Louisiana and Texas.
Bald cypress trees are valued for their rot-resistant heartwood and are frequently used to make fence posts, doors, flooring, and cabinets. Bald cypresses have important roles in the wild including preventing erosion in wetlands and providing nesting spots for wood ducks and bald eagles. The bald cypress is the state tree of Louisiana.