Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens)

Educational Story

The Pond Cypress, Taxodium ascendens, is a tree that lives in swampy ground, but can adapt to drier lands. Its seeds need wet soil to germinate. This tree species can be found in depressional areas that hold water, slowly colonizing the middle of the depression and moving outwards. A cypress population in a round depressional area will have a dome shape to onlookers from far away because the oldest and tallest trees tend to be in the  middle of the dome. These populations are called “Cypress Domes.” Cypress trees also grow in backwater, slough, and riparian areas. Cypress swamps are extremely important ecosystems that serve as hunting grounds for birds of prey and homes for many birds, mammals and other species. They also provide important hydrologic services in the landscape.  The Pond Cypress “knees” are specialized roots that emerge from the ground as knobby knot like formations.  The Pond cypress is often confused with the Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum.  Some botanists consider the two species to be different varieties of the same species.

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Gardening Facts

Scientific Name: Taxodium ascendens
Common Name: Pond Cypress
Description of facts and concepts: Can live in water and out of it. Doesn’t grow knees outside of water.
Seed or division information: Seeds in moist soil
Date of flower’s bloom (Month and week): N/A
Ecoregion: Southeaster United States to south Florida.
Color of Flower: Brown
Height: 80 feet
Spread: 10-15 feet
Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress and Juniper family)
Soil Type: Base to Acidic Acidic
Soil: Dry to Wet Wet
Light: Sun to Shade Full Sun
Zone 7B-11B