Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

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Common Name(s): Cypress, Baldcypress

Scientific Name: Taxodium distichum

Distribution: Southeastern United States

Tree Size: 80-120 ft (24-37 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 32 lbs/ft3 (515 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .42, .51

Janka Hardness: 510 lbf (2,270 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 10,600 lbf/in2 (73.1 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,440,000 lbf/in2 (9.93 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,360 lbf/in2 (43.9 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.8%, Tangential: 6.2%, Volumetric: 10.5%, T/R Ratio: 1.6

Color/Appearance: Color tends to be a light, yellowish brown. Sapwood is nearly white. Some boards can have scattered pockets of darker wood that have been attacked by fungi, which is sometimes called pecky cypress.

Grain/Texture: Straight grain and medium texture to coarse texture. Raw, unfinished wood surfaces have a greasy feel.

Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition abrupt, color contrast medium; tracheid diameter large to very large.

Rot Resistance: Old-growth Cypress is rated as being durable to very durable in regards to decay resistance, while wood from younger trees is only rated as moderately durable.

Workability: Sharp cutters and light passes are recommended when working with Cypress to avoid tearout. Also, the wood has been reported by some sources to have a moderate dulling effect on cutting edges. Cypress has good gluing,  nailing, finishing, and paint-holding properties.

Odor: Cypress has a distinct, somewhat sour odor while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Cypress has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Prices ought to be in the mid-range for domestic woods, with clear, knot-free boards for woodworking applications costing more than construction-grade lumber.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: Exterior construction, docks, boatbuilding, interior trim, and veneer.

Comments: Baldcypress is the state tree of Louisiana, and is an icon of southern swamplands. So named because the trees are deciduous (unlike most conifers), and have the peculiar trait of dropping all their needle-like leaves each the winter.

The trees also develop unique aerial roots that protrude above the ground (or water) and are especially seen on trees growing in swamps. These structures are known as knees, and are sometimes harvested  on a small scale and sold for woodcarving purposes (see picture below).

Although not technically a cypress in the strictest sense (Cupressus genus), Baldcypress is in the Cupressaceæ family, which includes many decay resistant woods (including cedars), and the wood is a popular choice in exterior construction applications where decay resistance is needed. 

Related Species:

None available.


Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Cypress (sanded)

Cypress (sealed)
Cypress (sealed)

Cypress (endgrain)
Cypress (endgrain)

Cypress (endgrain 10x)
Cypress (endgrain 10x)

Cypress (foliage)
Cypress (foliage)

Cypress (knee)
Cypress (knee)
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I came into a number of cypress slabs 3 to 4 inches thick. Is this wood good for making cutting boards, knife racks, and furniture? I’ve read that the Janka scale is 510, but not sure what this means or how it compares. What would be a good use for this wood?


Can Cyprus wood be used to make an apple pulper?

brian Tooz

Has anyone used cyoress for carvong spoons? I was thinking about it any info would be great.

Jake Williams

Cypress makes a beautiful spoon but it is very soft and not a great choice for a spoon that will be used regularly. It would be better served as a decorative piece.

Michael Stevens

Many of the “Shotgun Houses” in New Orleans are constructed of this wood, and many are over 125 years or more old. They are said to be highly resistant to wood rot.


Does anyone know how this wood works for the frame boxes for bee hives?


Rossman in Moultrie, Georgia sells hive bodies and supers made from bald cypress. There are some in my area that have been in use for 30+ years.


Excellent to outstanding

Jennifer LaClaire

I would guess, “NO”, not recommended for frame of a bee’s hive. Bees would probably work right through this wood quickly, due to it being a ‘softwood’. Use walnut wood or redwood, much harder wood for framing a bee hive.


The bee boxes in our area are almost always made of this. They have been around on some of our back fields for 40+ years. I personally have used it for making a dock, outside planters, and a pool deck.


Hi. I have a piece of cypress already roughly shaped like an axe handle. I know it is not the strongest of woods, but would it still be an okay wood to use for an axe handle?


I would expect it to work but not for very long.

Billy Como

No. I live in Baton Rouge and am a professional woodworker. I use Cypress a lot and it is not a very strong wood. Your handle will eventually snap. It is a very soft wood.


I have been looking for a 6 ft cypress swing.
What is the average price range. I’m in Assumption Parish but haven’t been able to find one.. I bought one a couple of years ago under the pretense it was cypress and it rotted away. We didn’t have any knowledge of cypress.

Nick Conrad

I have templates for bateaus that were built with cypress from the area around Blountstown, Florida.
The early 50s & back was the heyday. In my shop I plan to build some from relatively fresh cut
cypress. Fasteners will be brass or stainless steel screws. Sides will be solid one piece & bottom will be
wide slats ( 4″ ) & left with gaps to expand & seal the bottom. Transom will be 1 & 1/2″ to accomotate
a small outboard or electric.
Any thoughts on sealing or finish? Nick

Theresa Williams

Does it resist termites?


Just visited some cypress trees on the Black River in North Carolina that are the oldest known trees east of the Rockies. The oldest one found so far has been core dated to 2,600 years old! The trees are not tall. They were once, but the tops were blown out by storms hundreds of years ago. Growth rings are so narrow and the heartwood is so compressed by centuries of stress that counting the rings can only be done under a microscope by an expert. I would love to get hold of a piece of salvaged ancient cypress heartwood big… Read more »

Donald Thibodaux
Gregory Monroe

Cypress has tropical oils in it that aide in rot resistance. I found the answer is to use shellac as a sealer first, and then poly as your top coats.


What are your thoughts on using rough cut cypress to replace a floor in a horse/stock trailer?

giles nowak's mustache

Related tree is the Red Wood. I came across a source in a bookstore once that gave the height of the “Bald Cypress” as being up too 300 ft. (most texts list in in the mid to upper 100 ft range). The explanation of this one source was that it rarely gets to these heights anymore, but in earlier centuries old growth of the tree was much higher.

The tree is BEAUTIFUL. Graceful & willowy, the slightest breezes stir the branch-lets into slow dancing ripples of movement

Gregory Monroe

I have found that quartersawn old growth bald cypress sapwood makes excellent instrument soundboards, particularly for acoustic guitars & ukuleles. The “tap tone” is pleasantly mellow and not overly bright. Very comparable to Alaskan Yellow Cedar but much cheaper.


i am making “the mother of all wedding benches” for my daughter out of a 30 yr old tree that a neighbor had to take down. i am very surprised that it is so light, having been making tables and such from pecan and mesquite and osage orange. just seems to me a very light wood would rot faster, but what do i know? ;-) the bench is 4-1/2″ thick, 15″ wide,6′ long, live edge. the legs are 1/4 vertical slices off the bottom 3′ of the trunk – which was too large for my friend to mill with his… Read more »


Thank you sir for the information.


I am down in South Georgia where the cypress are quite abundant. Knowing the wood is light weight,rot resistant,and easy to carve, I thought it might make good material for making drinking cups and wooden bowls and plates. I checked you database for toxicity levels but it doesn’t say anything about drinking cups and such. Do you know if it is safe for drink and food?

Kurt Barensfeld

Cypress is the woods used exclusively in NYC water towers.

Nick Byrne

The NYC water towers are typically made from western red cedar (giant arborvitae) for fire suppression only.


this type is very common in greece, durability is very good if there is any contact with huminidy or water, if it does in sort time it gets infected by worms/insects.
i have replace pieces in old houses that they were hard as iron,but they were also well protected by huminidy.

John Darst

What’s old cypress siding worth?