Rochelle Greayer

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1/01/2010

50 Natives: Louisiana: Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress

New Years Resolution #2: Finish what you start.  By my accounting I have 20 states left in my 50 natives series that I started earlier this year (ooops I mean last year).  Here is another installment….more coming regularly.

louisiana native tree bald cypress Taxodium distichum

image by humminggirl

Where I from Louisiana, I am quite sure the bald cypress would be the tree I would be most nostalgic for.  They are the vision of southern American swamps. It is a legendary tree of the Deep South known for its “knees,” moss-draped crown, and buttressed trunk. While virgin stands are rare due to generations of logging, second growth stands still exists and can be found throughout most parishes in Louisiana.

taxodium distichum bald cypress mosaic louisiana native tree

1. Fruits of Fall, 2. c14, 3. c6, 4. Louisiana Cypress Swamp, 5. DSZ_04295a, 6. Taxodium distichum, 7. Taxodium distichum – 1, 8. Taxodium distichum – 2, 9. Ciprés de los Pantanos – Taxodium distichum L.

According to Kelby Ouchley of the La. Wetland Management District bald cypresses can live for a thousand years, “they tower one hundred feet above the earth and laid down their first annular rings during the classical period of the Mayan culture. They germinated and grew into seedling as Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman emperor. They were sound and mature when the sun gleamed from the swords of Hernando DeSoto’s men as they marched across northeast Louisiana in a fruitless search for gold. It is possible that their limbs were once laden with the weight of a thousand passenger pigeons and that their bark was probed by ivory-billed woodpeckers.”

It all seems very romantic to me.  For your garden, it a popular ornamental tree, grown for its light, feathery foliage and orange-brown fall color.  There, only 19 left to go….

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