Bald cypress is a very unusual tree. It is a conifer, producing small cones that look like brown soccer balls, but it drops all of its leaves in the fall. Bald cypress is a very unusual tree. It is a conifer, producing small cones that look like brown soccer balls, but it drops all of its leaves in the fall. These leaves are flat and feathery, branching multiple times to make complex patterns. Bald cypress have pointed, scaly buds and green twigs that will become brown after the first year of growth. These trees grow naturally in the swampy portions of the southern United States, but can be planted throughout the country and in Canada. When in swamps, the tree has roots that protrude above the water, called ‘knees’. Bald cypress seeds germinate in saturated soil, but will not grow the well-drained soil that most plants prefer because of competition. As a mature tree, bald cypress can tolerate a wide variety of soils and moisture levels. This adaptability, as well as the tree’s high salt tolerance, make it a suitable urban tree. It is not often seen in Minnesota, however, because it can suffer damage from the cold winters.