Taxodium ascendens Brongn.

NOTE: Taxodium ascendens Brongn. (= T. distichum (L.) Rich. var. imbricarium (Nutt.) Croom

  • LEAVES: leaves are born on determinate short-shoots which are deciduous; due to twisting at the base, most determinate short-shoots are held secundly erect from the woody twigs; leaves narrowly lanceolate, ca. 0.25” long, spirally arranged on the axes of determinate shorts-shoots, typically ascending to appressed against short-shoot axes; on saplings and small trees re-sprouting following top-kill by fire, leaves can be longer, to 0.6”, linear, and due to twisting at their bases, can spread laterally in one plane from short-shoot axes, thus resembling Taxodium distichum (baldcypress)
  • 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, T. ascendens male cones release pollen later in the season than do cones of T. distichum; female cones globular, to ca. 1” broad
  • TWIGS: woody twigs slender, light green-tan, becoming reddish-brown, surface fibrous and stringy
  • BARK: bark gray to reddish-brown; eventually breaking into thick, long, flat vertical plates; in older trees bark may be conspicuously spiraling
  • FORM: medium-sized tree, to ca. 80’ tall and ca. 80” dbh; “knees” low, to ca 1’ tall, often rounded
  • HABITAT: old infertile landscapes, growing in bayhead swamps, oligotrophic marshes, margins of lakes and ponds, along blackwater streams, and in wet pine savannas
  • RANGE: Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains from North Carolina to southeastern Louisiana  [Flora of North America range map]
  • USES: cut timber not differentiated from Taxodium distichum, refer to that species’ information; ornamental
  • WILDLIFE: provides waterbird nesting habitat, seeds eaten by various birds
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. Taxodium of old infertile landscapes, especially wet pine savannas and embedded depressional wetlands
    2. determinate short-shoots held erectly on woody twigs, giving a unique silhouette to the branches and twigs
    3. leaves spirally arranged on determinate short-shoots (not appearing distichous), narrowly lanceolate, ascending appressed (except those of young trees or trees recovering from injury)
    4. knees low and rounded, rather than tall and conical as in Taxodium distichum