Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941



Florida cypress, one of the few remaining prehistoric trees on the
American continent, is gradually disappearing at the hands of the timber
cutter. The cypress has been referred to as the "oldest living thing on
earth," and only a strict program of conservation will prevent its
commercial extinction.

A survivor of the preglacial period, cypress belongs to a group of
vegetation which includes the redwoods of California and the ginko of
China. Like them, it was pushed steadily southward by walls of ice until
it found refuge in a warmer region. The path of its flight to the Florida
peninsula, and other climatically-favored areas, is strewn with proof of
its temporary habitations.

In excavations for the Mayflower Hotel at Washington, D. C.,
cypress stumps 8 feet in diameter were discovered and scientists
estimated these were parts of trees which had lived 100,000 to 300,000
years ago. Similar stumps were found in excavations for the Philadelphia
subway, and at Greenbury Point on property of the United States
Academy near Annapolis. The age of the latter was estimated at

A considerable number of live cypress trees reach an age of 1,000
years. Those from 400 to 600 years old are fairly common and there are
many between 600 and 900 years of age scattered throughout the