Brazos Bend State Park
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Gator Hatch

Twelve Trees of Brazos Bend State Park


Taxodium distichum

DECIDIOUS—May grow to 130 feet in height.

LEAVES: Alternate, 2 ranked, 1/2-3/4” long. The lustrous light green leaves are deciduous, unusual for a conifer.

BARK: Gray to cinnamon brown, thin, fairly smooth with longitudinal shallow fissures.

FLOWERS: March-April-- Staminate and pistillate cones are brownish 3-5” long.

FRUIT: The seeds, two winged, are borne under the scales of cones. Ripen in October through December.
This tree is a member of the Redwood family and can reach the age of 800-1,200 years. It likes to grow in wet, swampy conditions. The trunk is swollen at the base and develops narrow ridges. Curious cone-shaped, erect growths called “knees” appear around the tree, especially in very wet areas.

Some think they act as anchors for trees growing in soft mud while others say they aerate the roots. Perhaps they do both.

Wood is used for boat building, railroad ties, docks, bridges, silos, barrels, posts, shingles etc. since it is very durable in contact with water and soil. The wood is easily worked and takes a good polish. The knees are made into art work. Resin from cones was used as a painkiller for wounds.Ancestors of the Bald Cypress at one time covered North America. Now it is found mostly in swamps of the southern states.

Look for cypress around Creekfield Lake across from the Nature Center.

Updated: Aug 12, 2011