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Gardening: Taxodiums distichum

Pursuits | By ​David Wheeler


'Commonly known as the bald or swamp cypress, is a slow-growing giant, many examples of which – delightfully and, perhaps, surprisingly – adorn the wetter parts of numerous parks across the UK'

We know that willows and poplars are thirsty trees. In the tropics and subtropics, the guzzlers include the mangroves, invasive and colonising thugs with a preference for brackish or salty water. Thankfully, they cannot survive in our temperatures.  Here, we can successfully grow a stately tree from the Gulf of Mexico’s freshwater coastal plains and other warm, south-eastern parts of the USA; but it’s not for the small garden. Taxodium distichum, commonly known as the bald or swamp cypress, is a slow-growing giant, many examples of which – delightfully and, perhaps, surprisingly – adorn the wetter parts of numerous parks and private estates across the UK. The clue is in that second vernacular name: ‘swamp’. This deciduous conifer (tolerant, too, of less liquescent sites) is perfectly suited to the shallows, where it craftily blurs the line between dry and watery worlds. In its homeland, the tallest known individual (climbing to...


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