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bald cypress,common name for members of the Taxodiaceae, a small family of deciduous or evergreen conifers with needlelike or scalelike leaves and woody cones. Most species of the family are trees of East Asia; almost all are cultivated for ornament (and are often erroneously called firs or pines). The redwoods (see sequoiasequoia
, name for the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and for the big tree, or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), both huge, coniferous evergreen trees of the bald cypress family, and for extinct related species.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and the bald cypresses are the only species native to North America. The bald cypresses (genus Taxodium) were widely distributed in the geologic past but are now restricted to the SE United States and Mexico. They are called "bald" because of their deciduous character, unusual in conifers. The common bald cypress (T. distichum) forms dense forests in the southeastern swamplands and is a common tree of the Everglades. It produces "knees" which project from the root system upward above water level to facilitate gas exchange. Because it is resistant to wood-rotting fungi, it is valued as softwood lumber for shingles, trim, and especially for greenhouse benches and racks. T. mucronatum, the big cypress or Mexican bald cypress, is a larger tree with a more western range. The true cypressescypress,
common name for members of the Cupressaceae, a widely distributed family of coniferous shrubs and trees, several yielding valuable timber. The major genera are Juniperus (juniper), Thuja (arborvitae), and Cupressus (the true cypresses).
..... Click the link for more information. belong to a separate family. The bald cypress family is classified in the division PinophytaPinophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called gymnosperms. The gymnosperms, a group that includes the pine, have stems, roots and leaves, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Pinopsida, order Coniferales.
2. A deciduous softwood tree resistant to decay and often used in contact with the soil and for exposed elements such as wood shingles; also used for flooring and trim. See also: Wood