Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941


when it begins to die downward. The decadence lasts an additional three or four
centuries. Meanwhile the growth in diameter continues for several

Not until after the tree reaches an age of 350 to 600 years does
the increase in girth show any marked decline. In the last stages, the tree
is a hollow cylinder of sapwood from which the heart has been removed
by decay. Such veterans range from 1,000 and 2,000 years old.

The natural growth of the cypress tree is usually confined to
swamps, wet depressions, or the banks of streams; but a wet location is
not essential to the normal and healthy development of the tree provided
there is sufficient moisture in the soil. It can readily be grown from seed
and is well-adapted to nurseries and higher elevations. Cypress therefore
has been used extensively in part planting over the eastern and central
parts of the United States.

On the grounds of the United States Department of Agriculture
in Washington there is a group of cypress trees that was planted over 50
years ago. The largest has reached a height of 74 feet. Massive cypress
trees in Bartram Park, Philadelphia, were grown from settings brought
from Florida by William Bartram prior to 1800. These northern plantings
demonstrate the adaptability of cypress to climate as well as soil.
Thus, while requiring considerable moisture, cypress is not
necessarily a semiaquatic or mud-inhabiting plant. In its early stages it