Bald Cypress the State Tree of Louisiana
Interesting Tree with Knees!
We have many bald cypress trees that grow in eastern areas of Texas including Houston and all along the upper Gulf Coast for that matter. Generally speaking they grow best in temperate regions in areas of high humidity and places where the soils are often moist or even seasonally flooded.
They thrive in swampy areas.Officially labeled as Taxodium distichum these trees can grow in other more northern regions if planted and tended but they prefer locales where it is hot and moist.
This deciduous conifer tree from the cypress family Cupressaceae sheds its light feathery foliage during the winter months first turning a burnt orange or rusty color.
State Tree of Louisiana
As mentioned in the title of this article, the Bald Cypress has been chosen by the State of Louisiana to be its official State Tree.
The southern border of Louisiana is situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the mighty Mississippi River also disgorges its flow at Baton Rough, Louisiana after a 2,320 mile journey from its origin way up in Minnesota.
There are many swampy and wetland areas in Louisiana and the bald cypress tree does well there. Not only can it survive being in water, but it thrives in that type environment as well as also being able to live on land above water as long as conditions are right.
It is easy to see just how swampy and marsh-like the southern border of Louisiana is by viewing the map below.
Estuaries and marshes punctuate that southern region and those marshes are important not only for the sea creatures and other birds and animals calling it home, but also important to maintain stability of grounds further north.
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Man Verses Nature
Most people are aware that over time much of the City of New Orleans now depends upon man made levees to keep city residents from having their homes and businesses flooded when waters rise such as occurred with recent hurricanes or flooding waters of the Mississippi River.
That is because a significant portion of New Orleans is actually now below sea level.
Most people are aware of the horrific effects of those levees breaking when Hurricane Katrina zeroed in on New Orleans and made southern Louisiana its target.
We have many people now living permanently in Houston as well as other places when they lost everything they owned due to the ravages of that particular storm. Lives were also lost as most people are aware.
Anchoring types of trees like the bald cypress which can live in marshes can be important sources of stabilizing the land and holding it in place possibly preventing further erosion.
It is no wonder that the State of Louisiana prizes this hardy as well as beautiful tree.
The bald cypress is also called numerous other descriptive names many of which are appropriate and include southern cypress and swamp cypress.
On one of our vacation trips my mother and I saw numerous bald cypress trees growing in the swampy areas around Caddo Lake in eastern Texas near the Louisiana border.
One interesting feature of this tree is its knees. These protuberances which tend to grow around the tree and pictured here are thought to buttress the tree and possibly keep it upright.
Man has learned from nature how to use architectural buttresses to help support many buildings which otherwise may not stand. It is the same idea!
Cypress Tree Facts
Many of these trees have been proven to be long lived dating back to 364AD according to what I have read.
They can get quite tall up to 100 feet or more.
When fully leafed out as shown in the photo at the top, they can provide dense shade and sanctuaries for birds, squirrels and other creatures.
We see quite a few bald cypress trees planted in yards and also in our subdivision greenbelt area of Houston.
This photo that I took of the tree knees was taken in nearby Bear Creek Park in Houston near a water pond area.
The Bald Cypress
Were you familiar with the Bald Cypress Tree?
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© 2016 Peggy Woods