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Products > Taxodium mucronatum
 
Taxodium mucronatum - Montezuma Cypress
   
Image of Taxodium mucronatum
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Cupressaceae (incl. Taxodiaceae) (Cypresses)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [T. distichum var. mexicanum, T. huegelii]
Height: 60-80 feet
Width: 20-40 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Taxodium mucronatum (Montezuma Cypress) - This beautiful large Mexican native tree can grow in dry soils, however it will grow slower, or in well-watered areas like lawns. Montezuma cypress has a broad, spreading crown with strong, horizontal branches and delicate, weeping branchlets with pinnately arranged flattened bright green needles. The bark, often described as shreddy, is a pale tan color. The roots of trees growing in standing water can send up conical projections ("knees") but those that experience periodic drying out, such as those growing along stream courses or in cultivation, are less likely to form these.

Plant in full sun and irrigate regularly to occasionally. Widely noted as hardy to around 10°F but we have been told that it can actually tolerate temperatures below 0°F. Typically planted as a large tree we have also seen this plant pruned to be kept as large hedge.

Montezuma Cypress is closely related to the deciduous Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, of southeastern United States but even in colder years Montezuma Cypress tends to hold some foliage, though it often turns an orange brown color, and in frost-free years is evergreen, while the Bald Cypress always goes deciduous. This plant is native to much of Mexico and to the Rio Grande Valley in southern coastal Texas. The name for the genus comes from the Latin word 'taxus' meaning "yew" and the Greek word eidos that means "similar to" and the specific epithet is from Latin and means having a "short abrupt tip" in reference to the leaf tips. This plant has long been in cultivation as Taxodium mucronatum but the current correct name is now Taxodium distichum var. mexicanum. It has also previously been called Taxodium huegelii - we retain the name Taxodium mucronatum until Taxodium distichum var. mexicanum gets broader acceptance.

There are many large specimens of this plant in Santa Barbara and a group of specimen trees in Plaza Vera Cruz Neighborhood Park are particularly notable. In Mexico the tree is called Ahuehuete, which means "old man of the water" in Nahuatl. It was once more widespread around the capital district but habitat loss due to urbanization and lowering water tables has made it less common. Mexico's most famous tree; a giant specimen outside Oaxaca City at Santa Maria del Tule is called El Árbol del Tule (which translates to "The Tree of Tule") and is thought to be around 1,500 years old with a girth of 138 feet. It has been said that this tree is the world's largest single biomass. There is great information about this species and El Árbol del Tule in Jared Farmer's Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees 

This information about Taxodium mucronatum displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.

 
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