This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Tall trees with horizontal or drooping branches, and alternate spirally arranged sessile linear or scale-like leaves, deciduous in our species, spreading so as to appear 2-ranked, some of the twigs commonly deciduous in autumn. Leaf-buds naked. Staminate aments very numerous, globose, in long terminal drooping panicled spikes, appearing before the leaves; anthers 2-5-celled, the sacs 2-valved. Ovule-bearing aments ovoid, in small terminal clusters, their scales few, bractless, each bearing a pair of ovules on its base. Cones globose or nearly so, the scales' thick and woody, rhomboid, fitting closely together by their margins, each marked with a triangular scar at its base. Seeds large, sharply triangular-pyramidal. [Name Greek, referring to the yew-like leaves.]
Three known species, the following of southeastern North America, one Mexican. Type species: Taxodium distichum (L.) L. C. Rich.
Leaves linear, 2-ranked, spreading.
Leaves awl-shaped, closely appressed to the twigs.
Cupressus disticha L. Sp. PI. 1003. 1753.
T. distichum L. C. Rich. Ann. Mus. Paris, 16: 298. 1810,
A large forest tree, attaining a maximum height of about 150° and a trunk diameter of 14º, the old bark flaky in thin strips. Leaves narrowly linear, flat, thin, 5"-10" long, 1/2" or less wide, rather light green, acute, those on some of the flowering branches smaller, scale-like; cones globose or slightly longer than thick, pendent at the ends of the branches, very compact, about 1' in diameter; surfaces of the scales irregularly rugose above the inversely triangular scar; seeds 4"-5" long.
In swamps and along rivers, southern New Jersey to Florida, west to Texas, north in the Mississippi Valley region to southern Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas. Wood soft, not strong, brown, very durable; weight per cubic foot 27 lbs. The roots develop upright conic "knees" sometimes 4° high and 1° thick. Called also White, Red, Black or Virginia Swamp-cypress; Sabino-tree. March-April.
Cupressus disticha imbricaria Nutt. Gen. 2: 224. 1818.
Taxodium ascendens Brongn. Ann. Sci. Nat. 30: 182. 1833.
A tree with maximum height of about 8o° and trunk diameter of about 3º above the greatly enlarged base, tapering upward, its thick fibrous bark deeply furrowed. Leaves awl-shaped, closely appressed to the slender twigs, 2"-5" long, long-pointed, keeled above, concave beneath, the tips somewhat spreading; cones similar to those of T. distichum.
In ponds and swamps, southern Virginia to Florida and Alabama. Wood heavier and stronger than that of the Bald cypress.