Swamp Cypress Trees

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The knees found at root level of the swamp cypress.
The knees found at root level of the swamp cypress. (Image: cypress swamp image by William Knapp from Fotolia.com)

There are three main types of swamp cypress. They are classified as different species, though some scientists disagree. These trees can grow in wet conditions and dry soils. Besides being found in swamps, these trees are also used in bonsai. In many places the swamp cypress is overgrown with Spanish moss.

Pond Cypress

The pond cypress grows where two different habitats meet. It is a buffer between the deep swamp and the prairie, as this can grow in wet areas. Scientists have yet to decide if the pond cypress is a different species from the bald cypress. The pond cypress has a different appearance (the needles grow more closely together, grow in a spiral pattern around the stem and the bark contains deeper ridges).

Bald Cypress

The bald cypress is the most common of the swamp cypress trees. It is found in the southern United States, specifically in the Florida everglades and the Louisiana bayous. The wood does not rot in water and the timber is used for outdoor furniture. While the bald cypress is found in swampy areas, it can also grow in dry soil. This is nonflowering tree is a gymnosperm. Instead of flowers it produces cones. The swamp cypress will grow roots (called knees) at water level.

Montezuma Cypress

The Montezuma cypress is a swamp cypress found between the Rio Grande River and Guatemala. Unlike other swamp cypress trees this is an evergreen tree. The male flowers grow on small stalks that protrude from the main stalk. Bald cypress trees have male flowers that grow in clusters. These trees cannot tolerate cold weather and are not found north of San Antonio, Texas. The leaves are grayer in color than other swamp cypress.

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