The swamp cypress, Taxodium distichum var. distichum, is a reliable species for producing russet autumn tones.
Taxodium distichum var. distichum, is a native of the United States, where it grows in swampy forests, or river margins, and was introduced to western gardens in the early 1600’s. It thrives in wet conditions, and is typically pyramidal or conical in shape, reaching 50m in height. Our tree has developed knuckle-like protruberances at the base of the stem. These are known as pneumatophores, though there is debate about their purpose, with some believing that they are adapted aerial roots to help the roots breathe, while other believe that they serve merely to stabilise the tree. A member of the Cupressus family (Cupressaceae), T. distichum var. distichum is one of only a handful of deciduous conifers. It is distinct from Metasequoia glyptostroboides in its alternate leaves which are arranged in a spiral at the tip of the stem. In autumn the delicate foliage takes on rich russet tones.