The Pond Cypress
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.