Bald cypress not an evergreen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This is an early autumn landscape showcasing the native bald cypress tree. The tree in the foreground of this photo, which I took at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Stoddard County, as well as those in the near foreground are all bald cypress trees.

Although appearing during summertime to be an evergreen, this grand tree is deciduous, which means it drops its leaves for winter just as oaks, maples, hickories and other trees do.

Bald cypress seed cones are globular, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and they turn from green to brown as the seeds mature. Twenty or more rather large triangular seeds are produced in each cone.

Southeast Missouri is at the northwestern edge of the bald cypress range, which includes much of Southeastern United States. Seedlings are susceptible to winter ice damage, which keeps this a Southern tree.

In a swampy location a bald cypress will grow a wide, lower trunk, which helps it stand upright even in strong winds. Away from water this tree will grow a less pronounced base and can make a nice tree in your yard.

The wood of the bald cypress is soft but durable and more resistant to rot caused by water than wood of most other tree species. Bald cypress wood is a favored wood by some carvers.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell.

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