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What is a bald cypress tree?

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Quick Answer

The bald cypress tree is a deciduous conifer native to swampy and coastal areas in the southeastern United States. The tree sheds its needles early in the season, hence the name “bald."

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The bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, features pneumatophore "knees" that grow from underground or underwater roots up through the surface. These roots are thought to transport air to drowning roots or help anchor the tree in aquatic environments.

The bald cypress tree grows to 120 feet tall and has a diameter between 3 and 6 feet. Its rot-resistant heartwood is favorable for woodworking, but because the tree is slow growing and low in population it is not commonly used for timber. The tree plays an important role in wetland ecosystems by providing breeding ground for frogs and salamanders and a nesting habitat for wood ducks and bald eagles.

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