Cypress Trees in Virginia: Common Varieties

The beautiful state of Virginia is known for its long-standing history and idyllic landscape. The nutrient-rich soil and lush vegetation make way for trees and shrubs to bountifully grow. One common tree that you will see in Virginia is the cypress tree. Cypress trees in Virginia grow rather well and provide a gorgeous view and home to many woodland creatures.

What Type of Cypress Trees Grow in Virginia?

Cypress Trees in Virginia

The only type of Cypress tree that currently grows in Virginia is the Bald Cypress tree. The bald cypress tree has a cylindrical base, with roots growing downward and around the tree’s trunk. Its leaves are pointy and needle-like, with distinctive round cones at the bottom of each stem. The tree can grow up to 100 feet tall with a trunk diameter between 3 and 6 feet. 

The bald cypress tree has knees, which are a natural part of the tree’s root system, and they protrude from the water or soil that the tree is rooted in. In the fall, the leaves are a golden brown color before they fall off, and in the Spring and Summer, they are a deep green color. The bald cypress tree branches have male flowers called catkins. Catkins are tiny purple flowers that grow in clusters and give the tree a nice appearance.

History of the Bald Cypress Tree

The bald cypress tree hails from Maryland, with roots dating back to the year 1640. They grow along the east coast. However, you’ll find bald cypress trees all the way to Texas.

The tree sparked a lot of poetic and artistic pieces, most likely due to its mysterious appearance. Some say the tree looks sad, while others say its odd shape makes it look quirky and whimsical in a way. Its mysterious attributes could also explain why the bald cypress tree is the state tree of Louisiana.

Cypress Trees in Virginia’s Habitat

Cypress Trees in Virginia

Cypress trees prefer a swampy, marshy habitat and grow in areas with a lot of moisture and stagnant water. They need a lot of sunlight and are regarded as shade trees. Although the trees prefer to be near the water, cypress trees are deciduous conifers, and these types of trees are resilient, so they can grow in both wet and dry conditions if necessary.

Reproduction of the Cypress Tree

Cypress tree cones mature in late October, and each cone contains about 16 winged seeds. Animals, wind, and weather naturally spread about these seeds. From there, the seeds must be exposed to water for at least 1-3 months to fully germinate and become healthy seedlings to sprout into a potential tree. The bald cypress tree is sturdy and resilient and can live to be 100 years old.

Fun Facts about Cypress Trees in Virginia

Cypress trees can provide privacy and are gorgeous trees that have a lot of history behind them. Here are some fun facts about the bald cypress tree that grows in Virginia. 

  • Did you know that the bald cypress tree obtained its name “bald” because of how bare it looks in the winter?
  • The bald cypress is a coniferous tree, but it is not considered an evergreen tree because it loses its leaves in the fall and grows new ones in the Spring, unlike an evergreen tree.
  • The bald cypress tree is a cousin to the giant Redwood trees that grow in California.
  • The texture of the cypress tree’s bark is woven like a basket and contains shallow ridges that feel grainy to the touch.
  • The bald cypress tree is monoecious, which means it has both male and female reproductive parts to it.