University of Maryland Extension

Bald Cypress

Photo and text by Ginny Williams

Taxodium distichum

Although bald cypress grows well in wet places, it also does nicely in well-drained sunny locations with acidic soil. The woody protuberances that arise around bald cypress, known as knees, are only formed in water or very moist soils, so they won’t pop up in an average yard.  This long lived, pryramidal conifer sheds its needles in the fall, hence the name “bald”.  Easily growing up to 70’ high and 45’ wide, the stately bald cypress should not be planted under a power line or in a townhouse garden. It transplants easily, deer do not like it, and it has no serious insect or disease problems.

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