Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941


Texas and up the central Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois and
Indiana. Commercial stands, however, are confined principally to
Florida and the lower Mississippi Valley.

There are two varieties of southern or bald cypress (Taxodium
distichum) and numerous kinds of these, depending upon the color of the
wood and the location in which it grows. These varieties overlap in
characteristics and geographical range to such an extent that they are
sometime indistinguishable. Differences become less apparent as the
trees grow older.

The principal variety is characterized by smooth bark and flat
leaves on either side of horizontal branches along wide-spreading limbs.
The most common type of the other form of variation (Taxodium
distichum imbricarium or Taxodium ascendens,) sometimes classed as a
separate species, is distinguished by small flat leaves pressed closely
together or overlapping, ascending limbs and branches and deeply-
furrowed bark.

This variated form of overlapping leaves and ascending branches
extends along the Atlantic coastal plains into northern Florida and
westward to Alabama, while the main variety is found mostly along the
coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Valley.

Bald cypress is known as red, black, white, or yellow, according
to the color of the wood, or as Gulf and tidewater cypress, after the
region where it grows. The wood is generally darker in the Gulf and
south Atlantic regions than in other localities and becomes lighter farther