Cypress - Montezuma

Common Names: Montezuma Bald Cypress, Mexican Cypress, Sabino, Ahuehuete, Cipres

Botanical name:
Taxodium mucronatum
Tax-OH-dee-um mew-crow-NA-tum  

Family: Taxodiaceae



Montezuma Bald Cypress is found from the Rio Grande River south to Guatemala, although it is uncommon to rare in Texas. The main difference between Montezuma Bald Cypress and Baldcypress is that Montezuma Baldcypress is evergreen and the male flowers are borne in long racemes, whereas common Baldcypress is deciduous and the male flowers are in short clusters. It has been said that the extreme southern part of the state is the northernmost of its range and it has difficulty surviving winters farther north than San Antonio. However, there is one growing and doing very well in Plano Texas on the Frito National National Headquarters. See photo below.

Evergreen – Sun                 Ht. 80 – 140 feet                       Spacing 25’-45’

HABIT: Large, graceful semi- evergreen to deciduous tree that sheds all its leaves as the new ones emerge in the spring. CULTURE:      Drought resistant but also tolerates wet soils along waterways. More tolerant of alkaline soil than bald cypress.

FOLIAGE:  Alternate, grayer than bald cypress.

FLOWERS:  Inconspicusous and not showy; spring flowering.

FRUIT:  Oval; round, female cones are 1 – 3 inches that are dry or hard.


  7 – 10

RANGE:  Guatemala to southern Texas.


USES:  Shade tree or specimen in expansive areas.

PROBLEMS:   Very few if planted and maintained properly.


 Bald Cypress - knees  

Montezuma Cypress - no knees

The Tree of Tule, south of the city of Oaxaca in Mexico is one of the biggest and most spectacular trees in the world.  It is over 140 feet tall, its trunk measuring more than 50 feet in diameter.  One of the cypress in the group in front of the Frito Lay Headquarters in Plano, Texas is apparently a Montezuma cypress.  It is almost evergreen and has significantly outgrown the other bald cypresses How it got mixed in with the other regular bald cypress trees is a mystery.  But, I’m glad it’s there because it has shown that this tree is more cold tolerant than everyone thought.  It appears to be well suited for north Texas and similar climates and should be used more.



The other botanical names is Taxodium distichum car. Mexicanum.  Who knows how old this tree is, but 2000 years is probably a conservative guess.



Subscribe to FREE weekly newsletter Newsletter Archives



There are lots of trees in trouble from the heat and drought this summer, but some of the problems are exaggerated by poor landscape design, installation and management. These are bald cypress that have burned up along Central expressway (75) in Dallas. Plastic fabrics were used at planting, for weed control I suppose. Of course the fabrics failed and herbicides were sprayed. Both techniques hurt the trees. Drip irrigation was used and you can see why I don't recommend it for landscaping work. The solution to this mess is to remove all the plastic, fabric, fix the irrigation system and mulch the trees with shredded native tree trimmings and fertilize with organic fertilizers, all of which will reduce the stress on the trees and minimize the damage that could be done in the future.


Another tip related to bald cypress use is to switch to other similar plants. Even properly planted bald cypress trees will often have brown interior foliage in late summer. Part of this issue is mites attacking weaken trees and chlorosis due to poor seed sourcing. Many nurseries sell bald cypress that are more adapted to sandy acid soils that alkaline calcareous soils. The trees that are much better choices and rarely have the problems discussed here are Montezuma cypress and dawn redwood. Details about the trees and where they will grow are on the web site. Simply used the highlighted links.

Products are available in the Dirt Doctor's Corner of your favorite Garden Center.

To discuss this newsletter or any other topic tune in 8am -11am CST to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The call-in phone number is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

Please share this newsletter with everyone in your address book and all your friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word on organics.

Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett

Forward this newsletter to family and friends and ask them to
Sign up for Howard Garrett's Newsletter.

Dirt Doctor, Inc. P.O. Box 140650 Dallas, TX 75214
Copyright(c) 2011

If you no longer wish to receive Howard Garrett's Weekly Newsletter,
click reply and put Unsubscribe in the subject line.

  Search Library Topics      Search Newspaper Columns