The cypress is a black sheep among its family of trees. Classified as a conifer, cypress trees are not evergreen. While they have needles instead of leaves, those needles turn brown and fall off the tree during the fall season. Once the dormant season ends, growth of this swamp-loving tree continues in the spring.
Cypress trees occur most often in areas along the Gulf Coast in swamps with still water and along running water in rivers and streams. Cypress stands extend into more northern regions, reaching into parts of Indiana.
According to the University of Florida, species of cypress trees live as long as several hundred years. During this time, trees reach maximum heights of approximately 150 feet and maximum diameters of approximately 12 feet.
Studies cited by the University of Florida indicate that growth rates of cypress trees vary according to different environmental factors, including the availability of light, nutrients, water depth, soil characteristics and tree species. Given adequate water and kept weeded, cypress trees may grow at a rate as rapid as 4 feet per year.