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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Cypress Swamps



CYPRESS SWAMPS
Cypress Pond
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

Cypress Pond


Cypress Swamps:

Introduction

  • Cypress trees are well-adapted to water-logged soils in the Everglades
Cypress trees, the most flood-tolerant of all Florida tree species, grow in areas that are covered in water for longer periods than the surrounding marshlands. Two species of cypress occur in the Everglades, the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and the pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens). Within the Everglades, cypress swamps are restricted to Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and east of Shark River Slough and into Taylor Slough in the southern Everglades.

Tree Islands
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey
Cypress Knee

Cypress trees sometimes form large circular-shaped patches of cypress, also known as cypress domes, with larger trees toward the center pond area. Out of the extensive regions of sawgrass marsh, arise occasional tree islands, known as cypress savannas. These are open habitats primarily composed of pond cypress trees living on poor soils.

Cypress Knee
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Cypress Knee



Cypress trees are well adapted to the water-logged soils of the Everglades. The roots produce "knees" that protrude above the soil, ranging from a few inches to 6 feet (several centimeters to 1.8 meters) tall. It is thought that these knees aid in respiration, providing required oxygen to the root tissues, as well as aiding in structural support in water-logged soils.

Cypress Trees Lose Their Leaves in the Autumn and Regrow New Leaves in the Spring
courtesy National Park Service
Pond Cypress