Cypress lumber characteristics and uses

Common Names

Tidewater red cypress, gulf cypress, yellow cypress, white cypress, pond cypress, cow cypress, swamp cypress, black cypress, baldcypress

Common Uses

Cypress lumber

 Office furniture, furniture components, cabinetmaking, living-room suites, rustic furniture, food containers, joinery, utility furniture, figured veneer, wainscotting, shipbuilding, tables, desks, decorative veneer, Species Distribution

REGIONS: North America

COUNTRIES: United States

Environmental Profile

Baldcypress is reported to be rather widespread, abundant, and secure globally, although it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery
(Source – The Nature Conservancy – Rank of relative endangerment based primarily
on the number of occurrences of the species globally).


Baldcypress is reported to be distributed in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, Virginia, and Indiana.
The tree prefers very wet, swampy soils of riverbanks and floodplain lakes that are sometimes submerged.
It is often found in pure stands, but may also grow alongside hardwoods.

Product Sources

It is currently unknown whether some material from this species is available from sustainably managed, salvaged, recycled, or other environmentally responsible sources.

Tree Data

This large, acquatic, and deciduous tree is reported to mature to a height of about 100 to 120 feet (30 to 37 m), with a trunk diameter of 36 to 60 inches (90 to 150 cm). Baldcypress trees are reported to be well-known ornamentals, but are also commercially valuable.

Sapwood Color

The sapwood is pale yellowish white, and it merges gradually into the heartwood.

Heartwood Color

The heartwood is reported to be variable in color, with some wood featuring lighter streaks on a darker background. The color usually ranges from yellowish to light or dark brown, reddish brown, or almost black. Material from trees growing in the southern swamps is reported to be darker in color than that from trees growing farther north on drier lands.


The grain is normally straight, and may be even or uneven.


Texture is described as coarse, and oil from the tree is reported to impart a greasy feel to the wood.

Natural Durability

The heartwood is reported to be have high natural resistance to decay.


The timber is reported to take paint very well. It is regarded as an economical wood to finish because of its high paint retention.

Strength Properties

Bending strength in the air-dry condition is medium. It also has moderate crushing strength parallel to grain. The wood is moderately heavy, moderately hard, strong and moderately stiff.


Some cypress logs are reported to be susceptible to attack by a fungus which forms pockets or localized areas in the wood. The result is “Pecky cypress” which is reported to be attractive in appearance when cut. Although Pecky cypress is reported to be considered as an actual grade, supplies are very small compared  to other grades.


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