By Bill Willis
May 25, 2017
Cypress is a type of tree called a conifer that loses all its leaves during the fall like the deciduous oaks and maples. Whereas most pines and cedars only shed some of their needles, the Cypress leaves turn brown then drop, thus the term “bald”.
Cypress trees have another distinctive feature: “knees” that pop up from the ground at the base of the tree. These help with oxygen movement to the root systems under saturated soil conditions
These trees can be found from the Gulf States up the Atlantic Coast through the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia. Cypress trees can easily reach over 125 feet in height and 6 feet in diameter. Cypress trees have existed since the Mesozoic area, when dinosaurs roamed the land, and can live to be at least 100 years old.
The Bald Cypress swamps are among the most productive ecosystems, serving as homes to snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs and a variety of other animals and plants
The usefulness of the wood has made harvesting them an industry in the South. Cypress trees lumber is used for construction timber, fence posts and pilings, caskets, and shingles.