Bald cypress

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Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)


A deciduous, softwood tree (Taxodium distichum) native to the wetlands of southeastern United States. The bald cypress produces of durable, decay resistant wood. The soft, lightweight wood is reddish-brown with a straight grain. It is often used for outdoor construction, roofing, fencing, flooring, and boat building. Because bald cypress timber is easily worked, it has also been used as an interior finish wood. The peak lumbering period for bald cypress was from 1870-1915 (Bucher 1996). When the bald cypress grows in a watery area, it has aerial roots called knees. The knees, because of their interesting shapes, have been used as souvenirs, art objects, and bases for flower arrangements.

Tidewater Red Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Taxodium distichum; cyprès chauve (Fr.); ciprés de los pantanos (Esp.); cipresso calvo (It.); taxódio (Port.); southern cypress; swamp cypress; pond cypress; deciduous cypress; tidewater red cypress

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Density = 32 pcf

Paper fiber type: Softwood. Using transmitted light microscopy, fibers are identified by the presence of taxodiod and cupressiod ray parenchyma pits, 2-4 across. Fibers are wide and can be up to 7mm long. Appearance with Graff "C" stain: varies with bleaching. Average dimensions of fibers: 6.2mm, av width 45-60μm. Common pulping method: sulfite or kraft.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 258
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, Jacksonville, Fla.: air-dry weight = 32 pcf
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Marja-Sisko Ilvessalo-Pfäffli. Fiber Atlas: Identification of Papermaking Fibers (Springer Series in Wood Science). Springer, 1995.
  • Walter Rantanen. "Fiber ID Course." Integrated Paper Services. June 2013. Lecture.