Sunday, May 16, 2010

American Hardwoods: Cypress

The oldest living Cypress is the Sarv-e-Abarkooh in Iran's Yazd Province. Its age is estimated to be approximately 4000 years. DNA analysis has shown that redwood trees are also in the cypress family.

The Bald Cypress, which I'm most familiar with, loses it's leaves in the winter.
Ancient Baldcypress forests, with some trees more than 1,200 years old, once dominated swamps in the southeast US. The largest remaining old-growth stand of Baldcypress is at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, near Naples, Florida. These trees are around 500 years of age and some exceed 40 m in height.

Knees are woody projections sent above the normal water level, roughly horizontally from the roots, with a near-right-angle bend taking them roughly vertically downward into soil, usually passing through water first. Cyress knees are believed to assist in anchoring the tree in the soft, muddy soil.

Baldcypress swamps are some of the world's most productive ecosystems.

Baldcypress wood has long been valued for its water resistance thus called 'wood eternal'. Still-usable prehistoric wood is often found in swamps. The somewhat-mineralized wood is mined from some swamps in the southeast, and is highly prized for specialty uses such as wood carvings.


The Baldcypress was designated the official state tree of Louisiana in 1963, and is considered by some to be a symbol of the southern swamps.

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