Swamp Cypress

Taxodium distichum
Taxodiaceae (Redwood family)
Both our trees of swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) rise directly out of the Lake bed. Their conical spires offer year-round interest, and in winter the naked silhouette adds an interesting structure to the treescape. In spring, the light apple-green leaves appear on twisted stems and consisting of skinny leaflets running in pairs from a central rib. In autumn the foliage turns a deep fox-fur russet.
Visible throughout the year are the tree roots that buckle up above the surface of the lake into knobbly 'knees', known as pneumatophores. They are characteristic of swamp cypress trees growing in waterlogged soils or open water. One explanation is that they bring oxygen to the roots but this is yet to be proven and other ideas suggested include improving stability to accumulating organic material. Whilst their true function may yet to be found the pneumatophores are nevertheless a popular landing spot for ducks and moorhens.

Swamp cypress is a major constituent of the Florida Everglades flora and was introduced from America to the UK by John Tradescant the younger in 1640.