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Botanist's Lens: Cypress in Swamp Land!

The knees of a Bald Cypress when the Dell is dry. Shown with a Snake's Head Fritillary

Amongst the diverse collections of London Town Gardens, the Bald Cypress trees are one of the most mystic looking. They are growing in the lowest area of the gardens, closest to the South River.

Photos of the flooded Dell on Friday, October 29, 2021

Last Friday, as the tides rose and the rain brought in more water in the dell, it seemed as if the Cypress was back in its swamp land!

Bald Cypress tree native habitat is: "southern swamps, bayous and rivers, primarily being found in coastal areas from Maryland to Texas and in the lower Mississippi River valley to as far north as the southeast corner of Missouri. In the deep South, it is a familiar sight growing directly in swampy water, often in large strands, with its branches heavily draped with Spanish moss. In cultivation, however, it grows very well in drier, upland soils" Source

"Bald cypress seeds are too heavy to be dispersed far by wind and so depend upon flowing water for dispersal. Swamps like these most likely began to form approximately 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, although there is evidence supporting the existence of Bald cypress in what is now Maryland prior to the last ice age. An ancient cypress log was unearthed by contractors in the course of building the stadium for the Baltimore Ravens.

"Maryland’s bald cypress swamps are some of the northern most occurrences of this community type, the range of which is centered on the southeastern United States." Source

Thanks to our horticulture staff, Ben Lammers and Wren Droege, we have these beautiful pictures of the dell to share with you. We hope everyone has stayed safe and dry!

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