Taxodium distichum

Description: A deciduous conifer which prefers boggy moist conditions where this conical tree will perform to best effect. Fresh and soft pale green leaves in summer which turn really rich rust brown autumn colour and looks very effective.

Climate/Position: Prefers moist boggy even wet soils.

Height/Spread: Up to 20 metres

Soil Requirements: Wet and boggy ground. Ideal near water.

Pruning: None required.

Special Requirements: Thrives where it is wet and warm and when the roots of the swamp cypress are submerged in waterlogged ground, the tree will grow roots above ground known as 'knees' or pneumatophores. These carry supplies of air to the underground roots otherwise starved of oxygen.

Though known as a native to the south east of the United States and especially the Everglades of Florida, the swamp cypress was once indigenous to the British Isles. Evidence of its presence from prehistoric times has been found near Bournemouth. In modern times, Taxodium distichum was introduced to Britain in 1640 by the famous plant hunter John Tradescant the Younger.

Often confused with Metasequoia but the leaves and winter buds of Taxodium are arranged alternately whereas Metasequoia are opposite.