Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941


William Bartram, in his book of Florida travels, describe the
cypress tree in Florida as he saw them in 1775; "One the west side was
bordered round with low marshes, and invested with a swamp of
Cypress, the trees so lofty as to preclude the sight as a highland forests
beyond them; and these trees, having flat tops, and all of equal height,
seemed to be a green plain, lifted up and supported upon columns in the
air, round the west side of the bay.

"The Cupressus distiche stands in the first order of North
American trees. Its majestic stature is surprising; and on approaching it,
we are struck with a kind of awe, at beholding the stateliness of the trunk
lifting its cumbrous top towards the skies, and casting a wide shade upon
the ground, as a dark intervening cloud, which, for a time, excludes the
rays of the sun. The delicacy of its colour, and texture of its leaves,
exceed everything in vegetation. It generally grows in the water, or in low
flat lands, near the banks of great rivers and lakes, that are covered, a great
part of the year, with two or three feet depth of water; and that part of the
trunk which is subject to be under water, and four or five feet higher up, is
greatly enlarged by prodigious buttresses, or pilasters, which, in full grown
trees, project out on every side, to such a distance, that several men might
easily hide themselves in the hollows between. Each pilaster terminates
under-ground, in a very large, strong, serpentine root, which strikes off,
and branches every way just under the surface of the earth; and from these
roots grow woody cones, called cypress knees, four, five, and six feet
high, and from six to eighteen inches and two feet in