Taxodium distichum or bald cypress
Bald cypress Taxodium or
Taxodium distichum (botanical name)
Bald cypress, swamp cypress (English)
Cyprès de la Louisiane, cypress Chauve (French)
Taxodiaceae – moerascipresfamilie
Cypress swamp is found among us sometimes in parks, botanical gardens and arboretums. Mature trees are impressive with the gnarled trunk and soft, moss-green needles in autumn orange or golden color. In their home country are often in water or swamp. The moss that hangs over their branches, they have a somewhat ghostly appearance.
Origin of Taxodium
Swamp Cypresses, during the ice ages from the north to the southeastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico driven. They are relics of the Triassic (250 million years ago). The moerascipresbossen from that time a large part of the lignite layers are formed. Swamp cypress trees are attractive in the Everglades in Florida.
There are beautiful specimens in the great lakes and marshes of the Atchafalayabekken. The landscape of cypress swamp stretches from Lake Palourde to the peripheral areas of Baton Rouge, capital of the state of Louisiana. The Alligator Bayou Nature threatened to be built. It is for the two young conservationists to thank Frank and Jim, that the marshland for the imminent destruction was saved. There are cypress swamp more than 500 years old. The largest tree in this area is the Giant Island of Cats’. He was between 700 to 1300 years old. Its circumference is 16.4 m. Its shape is a strange beauty. Swamp cypresses are native to Guatemala and southern Texas.
The botanical word Taxodium is derived from yew needles because of the yew seem. Distichum in two rows, meaning that relates to the position of the needles.
Plant Characteristics of Taxodium
The bald cypress is up to 50 m high summer green conifer. He belongs to the deciduous conifers. Needle charge he is more impressive than its fibrous needles, gnarled trunk and branches outstanding. He can survive in places that are flooded throughout the year. To his roots with oxygen, it forms so-called knee or breathing roots up to 2 m above the water. They have to think of fairy tale characters. The Root of moarascipres strongly thickened and thereby resist the violence of hurricanes. The breathing roots strengthen the stability of the tree.
On the twigs often hang around the gray curtains of Spanish moss that benefit from high humidity. They give the look ghost swamp cypresses.
The male flowers are reddish catkins during the entire winter, visible. The female flowers are at the end of twigs, only to spring open and are pollinated by the wind. The cones are green, later brown. When ripe, the seeds fall into the water where they flow into the marsh or moseilandjes driven. There they can germinate. They hold about 30 months to stay viable in the water.
The crown was first pyramid and later wider. Bark and twigs are reddish-brown and fibrous. The needles are soft and green are two rows of spiral around the twig. They are 1-2 cm long.
Autumn color is orange-brown or red. The bald cypress is a monoecious tree. ie male and female on same tree bloewijzen grow.
The hard wood of the bald cypress is very durable and can withstand moisture. Unfortunately, the old moerascipresbossen largely during the 19th century cut. The wood used for houses, bridges and other structures. What is now his younger files. There are also including furniture, window frames and coffins made of. Nowadays, most trees grow in protected areas.
Swamp Cypress Trees attract lightning and were formerly used as lightning conductors.
Animals in the swamp
Swamp cypress trees are important for water and prey. In their branches nesting blue herons, little egrets, osprey and eagle. The seeds are food for squirrels, pheasants, finches and forest assigns. Rietfluiters and other birds find insects in the mosgordijnen. Around the cypress swamp zwemmem alligators and all kinds of fish. It is a breeding ground for frogs, toads and salamanders.
History of the bald cypress
The Aesculapius (symbol of physicians) of the American Medical Association is a snake around an arm of the bald cypress winds. (Aesculapius, the Roman god of medicine.)
Outside the city of Oaxaca, Mexico is a giant bald cypress. They call him El Arbol del Tule. Its age is estimated at 1400 to 1600 years. If so, he has been the era of the Aztecs experienced. For them, the bald cypress of the “gray beard of the Swamp”.
It is the oldest and largest bald cypress in the earth and the national symbol of Mexioco.
Resin of the cones was used to disinfect wounds. Bark and needles were dried and powdered and used to grease her to stop bleeding.