Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum


Bald Cypress grove in Tallahassee, Florida

Unlike most other species in the family Cupressaceae, the Bald Cypress is deciduous, losing its leaves in the winter months, hence the name ‘bald’. [5]   It can grow to 75 feet tall and is called the wood eternal because of the heartwood’s resistance to decay. [3]


Bald Cypress with fall foliage

It does well in home landscapes, displaying good drought tolerance and adaptability to sandy or clay soils as well as wet and dry sites.  Bald Cypress produces “knees” (vertical root extensions) in swamps but not when grown in upland sites.  [1]

This is a beautiful tree in all seasons.  The shape is conical and it has beautiful green foliage in the spring and summer, turning a wonderful gold in the fall.  Bare branches in the winter months are excellent perches for birds.

Identification and Description

The Bald Cypress is a deciduous conifer. Sage-green leaves, which resemble feathers, turn copper-colored before falling. [2]   The bark is gray-brown to red-brown, thin and fibrous with a stringy texture. [5]

Adapted to Georgia hardiness zones: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b.   Atlanta is zone 7b

Supported Wildlife and Other Uses

Its tops provide nesting sites for bald eagles, ospreys, herons, and egrets. [2]  It attracts birds and provides seed to birds and mammals.  It is the larval host for the Baldcypress Sphinx moth. [3] [6]

Champion Bald Cypress Trees in Atlanta and Georgia


Atlanta Champion Trees – full list
Georgia Champion Trees – full list
Intown Hawk – Condensed Atlanta and Georgia List

References and Additional Information

[1]  UGA Extension: Native Plants for Georgia Part I: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines (B 987) – Bald Cypress
[2]  UDSA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plant Fact Sheet:  Bald Cypress
[3]  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:  Taxodium distichum
[4]  Missouri Botanical Garden:  Taxodium distichum
[5]  Wikipedia: Taxodium distichum
[6]  Butterflies and Moths of North America:  Baldcypress sphinx