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Bald Cypress the State Tree of Louisiana

Updated on November 15, 2017
Peggy W profile image

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden, growing plants for beauty and food.

Bald Cypress Trees in the Fall Season
Bald Cypress Trees in the Fall Season | Source

Interesting Tree with Knees!

We have many bald cypress trees that grow in eastern areas of Texas including Houston and all along the upper Gulf Coast for that matter. Generally speaking they grow best in temperate regions in areas of high humidity and places where the soils are often moist or even seasonally flooded.

They thrive in swampy areas.Officially labeled as Taxodium distichum these trees can grow in other more northern regions if planted and tended but they prefer locales where it is hot and moist.

This deciduous conifer tree from the cypress family Cupressaceae sheds its light feathery foliage during the winter months first turning a burnt orange or rusty color.

State Tree of Louisiana

As mentioned in the title of this article, the Bald Cypress has been chosen by the State of Louisiana to be its official State Tree.

The southern border of Louisiana is situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the mighty Mississippi River also disgorges its flow at Baton Rough, Louisiana after a 2,320 mile journey from its origin way up in Minnesota.

There are many swampy and wetland areas in Louisiana and the bald cypress tree does well there. Not only can it survive being in water, but it thrives in that type environment as well as also being able to live on land above water as long as conditions are right.


It is easy to see just how swampy and marsh-like the southern border of Louisiana is by viewing the map below.

Estuaries and marshes punctuate that southern region and those marshes are important not only for the sea creatures and other birds and animals calling it home, but also important to maintain stability of grounds further north.

Location of Louisiana in the United States

Louisiana, USA:
Louisiana, USA

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Bald Cypress Tree Knees in swampy area near Houston
Bald Cypress Tree Knees in swampy area near Houston | Source

Man Verses Nature

Most people are aware that over time much of the City of New Orleans now depends upon man made levees to keep city residents from having their homes and businesses flooded when waters rise such as occurred with recent hurricanes or flooding waters of the Mississippi River.

That is because a significant portion of New Orleans is actually now below sea level.

Most people are aware of the horrific effects of those levees breaking when Hurricane Katrina zeroed in on New Orleans and made southern Louisiana its target.

We have many people now living permanently in Houston as well as other places when they lost everything they owned due to the ravages of that particular storm. Lives were also lost as most people are aware.

Anchoring types of trees like the bald cypress which can live in marshes can be important sources of stabilizing the land and holding it in place possibly preventing further erosion.

It is no wonder that the State of Louisiana prizes this hardy as well as beautiful tree.

Cypress tree knees in water
Cypress tree knees in water | Source

Swamp Cypress

The bald cypress is also called numerous other descriptive names many of which are appropriate and include southern cypress and swamp cypress.

On one of our vacation trips my mother and I saw numerous bald cypress trees growing in the swampy areas around Caddo Lake in eastern Texas near the Louisiana border.

One interesting feature of this tree is its knees. These protuberances which tend to grow around the tree and pictured here are thought to buttress the tree and possibly keep it upright.

Man has learned from nature how to use architectural buttresses to help support many buildings which otherwise may not stand. It is the same idea!

Bald Cypress tree knees
Bald Cypress tree knees | Source

Cypress Tree Facts

Many of these trees have been proven to be long lived dating back to 364AD according to what I have read.

They can get quite tall up to 100 feet or more.

When fully leafed out as shown in the photo at the top, they can provide dense shade and sanctuaries for birds, squirrels and other creatures.

We see quite a few bald cypress trees planted in yards and also in our subdivision greenbelt area of Houston.

This photo that I took of the tree knees was taken in nearby Bear Creek Park in Houston near a water pond area.

The Bald Cypress

Were you familiar with the Bald Cypress Tree?

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© 2016 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dale,

      This bald cypress tree would not be one you would typically see in Arizona, but I am happy to be able to share information about it with you.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      2 weeks ago from The High Seas

      That's a fine looking tree! Living on a boat and having a home in Arizona, I tend to have a soft spot for trees because I don't have enough of them in my life.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      We have many bald cypress trees growing in and around the Houston area. I am glad you found this topic interesting.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      The Cypress tree is majestic and looks beautiful in the fall. We do not have them growing here and it is interesting to learn about how beneficial it is to maintain the stability of the ecosystem.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      These bald cypress trees are indeed amazing. We see many of them growing in our part of the country. Sending good wishes your way!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      11 months ago from sunny Florida

      From the time I first found these in Florida they have fascinated me. I cannot pass by them without being in awe. They just have that magic that draws me in. You shared more than I knew...thank you.

      Angels once again headed your way ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      From my early childhood days of climbing trees to now, I have always admired them. Until moving to Texas, I had never seen a bald cypress tree. They are very different from the types of trees that grow in northern climes. Thanks for the good wishes!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      18 months ago from sunny Florida

      Just adore these trees...I do not recall if I have ever mentioned it but I believe I was a tree in a previous life because I am so enchanted by them. I had never seen these amazing trees till I came to Florida and have been mesmerized by them ever since. You have shared much that I did not know about them. Once again Angels are headed your way ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      We have many bald cypress trees that thrive in and around Houston. In fact we have numerous ones planted right here in our subdivision. I love their feathery foliage when leafed out. In the wintertime they lose all their leaves...thus the "bald" name is deserved.

      Understandable that your eyes would have been more on the water when driving though Louisiana...especially on Interstate 10 which is right along the water in so many places.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 years ago from sunny Florida

      O these are a favorite of mine in my adopted home state (I grew up my first 18 years in Virginia so still claim it as my HOME state but FL is high on my list too :D). There are many locations near where I live where I can go to enjoy these beauties.

      I was so busy looking at all of the water and bridges as I traveled through LA last year that I missed these beauties there.

      As always your articles always fill in the gaps in my knowledge. Thanks for helping to keep me in the know. Once again our little winged friends are headed your way ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      I am sure that cypress tree knees can be made into beautiful pieces of art. My website is up and operating. After fooling around for an entire year I finally went with a professional and had it up and operating in no time. It will be added to continually. As to my advice is to hire a professional! Stay safe up there! We have a 20 to 30% chance of rain daily but it goes up significantly on Friday of this week then tapers off. Thanks for the shares.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Lots of information and great photos! As always. :) Yes cypress trees are a staple in the deep South. I first learned about them in high school when a friend showed me pictures and actually had some of the cypress knees in his possession. I think some people carve them into art forms and use them to make natural arrangements for decoration. Going to share this article with followers and pin it to Awesome HubPages.

      Excellent article as always. Wondering how your website is going? You really need to write about your experience with that so we can all learn from your adventure.

      We have had way too much rain this year. We're warned well ahead again that this coming weekend, Thurs. through Monday, we're to have severe storms.

      Hope all is well down there. Take care . . .

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dolores,

      When leafed out they do have an evergreen appearance but we both know that they are not...thus the 'bald' name for at least a portion of the year. Nice that you are enjoying them up in your area. We have loads of them down here.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love bald cypress trees. They look so archaic! We have them growing in a few spots up here in Maryland. It looks like people still have a problem understanding that they are not evergreens. But they do look like evergreens, much like Dawn Redwoods. Maybe it's because they are coniferous.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi DDE,

      I assumed as much. Hope you have a good day today! :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Peggy Woods that is exactly what I meant!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi DDE,

      We have those tall slender growing cypress trees like those grown in Italy and elsewhere also growing in Houston. Those are probably the ones you meant? They are very different from the bald cypress trees.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

      We certainly do need our trees to keep producing oxygen into the air not to mention their beauty and haven for wildlife, etc. Nice to know you enjoyed this.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

      The bald cypress tree can actually survive growing in swampy water all the time as well as growing in places that are not water logged. So glad you found this informative enough to share. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      Yes...the knees certainly make the bald cypress trees distinctive. Glad you liked learning about them.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi emge,

      Glad you enjoyed the information about these trees.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas


      I can understand why you would remember this type of tree with the "knees" even if a long time ago. Most distinctive!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      We have tall Cyprus trees and so different from the Bald Cypress

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      I didn't really know anything about this tree, but your hub bridges that gap for me.. enjoy them now all trees.. while they are still here :( great share Peggy W

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've learned some very interesting facts about the bald cypress tree by reading this article. I didn't know that it grew in such wet soil and that it had knees! Thanks for sharing the information, Peggy. I'll share this hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      A tree with knees! lol! well I learned something new! what a great hub!

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      3 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Peggy, lots of information. Thank you

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I used to live in Louisiana and remember tree like this. It's been a long time, however. Good article! You're on fire with productivity! Way to go!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      Happy to be able to inform you as to what those protuberances or "knees" were as related to the bald cypress. It is an interesting tree to be sure.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have some knee photos I took near a lake and wondered what on earth they were! So now I know. Thank you!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Perspycacious,

      The Bald Cypress looks like it is evergreen but it is a deciduous tree so it does lose all its leaves here in the Houston area...thus the "bald" moniker. You are smart to be growing fruit and nut trees which supply your family with all their needs. We have a small orange tree in our yard and it is loaded with blossoms. Hopefully we will have our first big crop this year. Looking forward to it.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I wouldn't have imagined any evergreen tree being "bald"! Good article and I see you have some others on landscaping. I, for one, prefer to plant fruit and nut trees. Ours now give us a "year's supply" of those each year.


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