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Cypress, Montezuma


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COMMON NAMES:  Montezuma Cypress, Montezuma Bald Cypress, Mexican Cypress, Sabino, Ahuehuete, Cipres
BOTANICAL NAME:  Taxodium mucronatum (Tax-OH-dee-um mew-crow-NA-tum) Also known as Taxodium distichum var. Mexicanum.  
FAMILY:  Taxodiaceae 
 


 
TYPE:  Semi- evergreen shade tree
HEIGHT:  80-140 feet 
WIDTH:  30-50 feet 
SPACING:  25-45 feet

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HABIT:  Large, graceful semi- evergreen to deciduous tree for full sun that sheds all its leaves as the new ones emerge in the spring. This bald cypress has no knees.
 
CULTURE:  Drought resistant but also tolerates wet soils along waterways. More tolerant of alkaline soil than bald cypresses in general.



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FOLIAGE:  Alternate, slightly grayer than bald cypress.

 
FLOWERS:  Inconspicuous spring flowering.
 
FRUIT:  Oval; round, female cones are 1-3 inches that are dry or hard.

 
RANGE:  Guatemala to southern Texas. Montezuma 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 Bald cypress is that Montezuma Bald cypress is evergreen and the male flowers are borne in long racemes, whereas common Bald cypress 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. Recommended zones:  7-10.

 
PROPAGATION:  Seeds and cuttings - see bald cypress.
 
USES:  Shade tree or specimen in expansive areas.
 
PROBLEMS:  Very few if planted and maintained properly. Because of the nearly evergreen foliage, ice storm damage is sometimes an issue.

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Bald Cypress - knees

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Montezuma Cypress - no knees


 
NOTES:  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 cypresses in the group in front of the Frito-Lay Headquarters in Plano, Texas is 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.  Since that time I have found many of this beautiful variety growing here in north Texas.  It appears to be well suited for north Texas and similar climates and should be used more. How much farther north it will survive and do well is unknown at this time.

 


 

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