Two monumental swamp cypresses


Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Two monumental Swamp Cypresses (Taxodium Distichum and Taxodium Distichum Imbricarium ), photographed in the Botanic Garden Meise, Belgium

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About the Swamp Cypress

(Source: Wikipedia )
Taxodium distichum (bald cypress, baldcypress, bald-cypress, cypress, southern-cypress, white-cypress, tidewater red-cypress, Gulf-cypress, red-cypress, or swamp cypress) is a deciduous conifer that grows on saturated and seasonally inundated soils of the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains of the United States.

It is native to humid climates where annual precipitation ranges from about 760 mm (in Texas) to 1630 mm (along the Gulf Coast). Although it grows best in warm climates, the natural northern limit of the species is not due to a lack of cold tolerance, but to specific reproductive requirements; further north, regeneration is prevented by ice damage to seedlings. Larger trees are able to tolerate much lower temperatures and lower humidity.

In 2012 Scuba divers discovered an underwater forest several miles off the coast of Mobile, AL below 60 feet of water. The forest contains trees that have been dated to approximately 52,000 years old. The forest contains trees so well-preserved that when they are cut, they still smell like fresh Cypress sap. The team, which has not yet published their results in a peer-reviewed journal, is currently applying for grants to explore the site more thoroughly. It is estimated that they have less than two years before wood-burrowing marine animals destroy the submerged forest.

The seeds remain viable for less than one year, and are dispersed in two ways. One is by water; the seeds float and move on water until flooding recedes or the cone is deposited on shore. The second is by wildlife; squirrels eat seeds, but often drop some scales from the cones they harvest. Seeds do not germinate under water and rarely germinate on well-drained soils; seedlings normally become established on continuously saturated, but not flooded, soils for one to three months. After germination, seedlings must grow quickly to escape floodwaters; they often reach a height of 20–75 cm (up to 100 cm in fertilized nursery conditions) in their first year.

Bald cypress trees growing in swamps have a peculiarity of growth called cypress knees. These are woody projections from the root system project above the ground or water. Their function was once thought to be to provide oxygen to the roots, which grow in the low dissolved oxygen (DO) waters typical of a swamp (as in mangroves). However, evidence for this is scant; in fact, roots of swamp-dwelling specimens whose knees are removed do not decrease in oxygen content and the trees continue to thrive. Another more likely function is structural support and stabilization. Bald cypress trees growing on flood-prone sites tend to form buttressed bases, but trees grown on drier sites may lack this feature. Buttressed bases and a strong, intertwined root system allow them to resist very strong winds; even hurricanes rarely overturn them.

About the Botanic Garden Meise

(Source: Botanic Garden Meise Website )
Botanic Garden Meise is one of the largest botanic gardens in the world. The living plant collections contribute to the botanical and horticultural research as well as to the education and conservation activities of the Garden. The greenhouse and outdoor collections together hold nearly 25000 accessions of living plants (about 17400 taxa and 3170 genera) which is about 6% of all known plant species of the world. Half of them can be seen in the greenhouses (Plant Palace), the other half, comprising cultivated and indigenous plants, grows outdoors.

Technical details
Photograph made with Pentax K10D camera and
Pentax-DA 18-55 lens
Exposure 1/45 sec, f. 4,5 mm
focal length 18 mm , ISO 400
Date: May 29, 2014

_TAGS: botanic garden meise, belgium, tree, trees, taxodium distichum, bald cypress, baldcypress, cypress, southern cypress, white cypress, tidewater red cypress, gulf cypress, red cypress, swamp cypress, two, stem, branches, green, leaves, deciduous conifer, _

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