The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Southern or Deciduous cypress Taxodium distichum

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In the swamps of the southern states and the Floridas, on whose deep, miry soil a new layer of vegetable mould is deposited every year by the floods, the Cypress attains its utmost development. The largest stocks are 120 feet in height, and from 25 to 40 feet in circumference above the conical base, which at the surface of the earth is always three or four times as large as the continued diameter of the trunk; in felling them, the negroes are obliged to raise themselves upon scaffolds five or six feet from the ground. The roots of the largest stocks, particularly of such as are most exposed to inundation, are charged with conical protuberances, commonly from eighteen to twenty-four inches, and sometimes four or five feet in thickness; these are always hollow, smooth on the surface, and covered with a reddish bark, like the roots, which they resemble also in the softness of their wood; they, exhibit no sign of vegetation, and I have never succeeded in obtaining shoots by wounding their surface and covering them with the earth. No cause can be assigned for their existence: they are peculiar to the Cypress, and begin to appear when it is twenty or twenty-five feet in height; they are not made use of except by the negroes for bee-hives.