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A large swamp tree (Taxodium distichum) in the cypress family (Cupressaceae), native to the southeastern United States. T. distichum, variety imbricatum, commonly known as pond cypress, is sometimes considered a separate species, T. ascendens. The hard, red wood of cypress is often used for roofing shingles. The cypress family comprises 30 genera with 133 species of ornamental and timber evergreen trees native to eastern Asia, Tasmania, and North America. The leaves on a single tree may be scalelike, needlelike, or a mixture of both. Both male and female cones are borne on the same tree. The Tasmanian cedar (Athrotaxis), Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), China fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata), big tree, redwood, dawn redwood, and bald cypress are economically important timber trees in this family.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on bald cypress, visit Britannica.com.