Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.
  • LEAVES:leaves are born on determinate short-shoots which are deciduous; short-shoots laxly spreading, not secundly erect as in Taxodium ascendens Brongn.; leaves linear to very narrowly lanceolate, to ca. 0.8” long, more or less two-ranked, thus determinate short-shoots appear feather-like; however, short-shoots on upper portions of crowns on older trees typically have spirally-arranged leaves that are shorter and have longer-tapered tips – differing from the typical search image of feather-like short-shoots
  • CONES: male (pollen) and female (seed) cones are present on the same tree, thus the species is monoecious; male cones small, many in pendant tassels terminating late-season growth, forming in August and September, and releasing pollen in mid-winter or early spring – reportedly, releasing pollen earlier than do cones of T. ascendens; female cones globular, to ca. 1” broad
  • TWIGS: woody twigs slender, light green-tan, becoming reddish-brown, somewhat rough, fibrous
  • BARK: thinner than T. ascendens, gray to reddish brown, breaking into thin narrow strips
  • FORM: large tree, 100-150’ tall and over 15’ dbh (such relicts are rare); bases typically swollen and fluted; crowns of young trees pyramidal, crowns of old trees typically flat topped; “knees” potentially to 6’ tall, conical and pointed
  • HABITAT: alluvial floodplains and larger blackwater river bottoms, lake margins, swamps; channels of small streams, and, in the West Gulf Coastal Plain, forested seeps/baygalls
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Wetland (OBL): Almost always occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US, centered on Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: heartwood very durable, the “wood eternal,” used for lumber, furniture, water tanks; young second growth trees lack these decay resistant properties; smaller trees ground for mulch; ornamental
  • WILDLIFE: cavities used by various wildlife species for nesting and denning, including several bats and black bear, seeds eaten by a variety of birds
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. swollen and fluted tree bases, often with conical “knees” present
    2. determinate short-shoots with more or less two-ranked leaves, appearing featherlike
    3. eed cones globular, conspicuous, containing many angular seeds