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The Pond Cypress

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

At Goodale State Park John Nelson and I examined the plant community growing on the swollen bases of pond cypress trees, Taxodium ascendens, rather than the better-known bald cypress, Taxodium disitichum. Ascendens is pretty easy to figure out – growing upwards and the pond cypresses do have the ends of branches turning upward like a Christmas tree. Their needles hug the branches oriented towards the tips; on bald cypress the needles stand out straight in two rows – disitichum meaning two ranked. The smaller pond cypress is more beautiful to me; although the long, drooping limbs of bald cypress have a mysterious aspect when you see them at Beidler or on fast moving black water creeks like the Edisto. Pond cypress are more likely to be found, just as the name suggests – in water that is quieter like ponds or lakes.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.