Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pond Cypress

Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens) was the predominant cypress we saw in the Okefenokee Swamp. I have never been sure whether I was looking at Pond or Bald, so this entry, while it may be helpful to others, is an effort to correct this for myself. That is part of who I am: I like to have a name for the things I see.


Pond Cypress and Bald Cypress may be present in the same place. But Bald Cypress prefer nutrient-rich water and Pond prefers nutrient-poor ground water found in shallow depressions. Generally, the water in these “ponds” is more acidic than where the Bald Cypress is found.

Its peely bark is one identifier for Pond cypress.


Fire is more frequent in the dryer pond cypress habitat and pond cypress has thicker, more fire-resistant bark. But both pond cypress and bald cypress need a dry period for successful seed sprouting and survival.

This pond Cypress was just getting its new needles.


I found the picture below on a public page. The needles on the Pond Cypress are round and the ones on the Bald Cypress are flat.


I think this last bit of info is probably the most useful to me.

1 comment:

Liz said...

There is somewhat of a debate within the botanical world if T. distichum and T. ascendens should actually be categorized as distinct species. Some classify Pond Cypress as Taxodium distichum var. imbricatum, a variety of Bald Cypress. Just a fun fact. I personally think they're distinct sp. for many of the reasons listed. Like many things, depends on who you ask.