Monday, May 2, 2016

Bald Cypress

22 March 2016 was a gorgeous day. One plan for this road trip was to drive only a few hours each day, leaving time in the morning and afternoon for hiking and exploring. Today was one of the few days during which we achieved this goal. We started in Meridian, Mississippi, and walked a couple of miles around their Bonita Lakes Park.

This young Bald Cypress indicated we were in the South. These deciduous trees are associated with swamps. Seeds are dispersed by both floating in water and/or by animals carrying seeds. Although the seeds rarely geminate on well-drained soil, they can’t grow under water. They require wet, but not flooded, ground. Once they germinate, the trees grow quickly to escape future floods. The trees do not produce seeds until they are about 20 years old. After 200 years, they stop growing. Some live to be over 1000.

One aspect of these trees is their “knees,” little projections of the root systems surrounding the main trunk. Botanists once thought these growths provided oxygen to the roots. Little evidence exists for this hypothesis. Now scientists think knees (and wide trunk bases) serve as structural support in their swampy environment. Strong winds rarely topple cypress trees (Wikipedia).

No comments:

Post a Comment