Louisiana Swamp Cypress Trees and Spanish Moss
Rising tall from dark, murky waters, the bald cypress tree is a stately symbol of the swamp. Associated with the bayou, Spanish moss, pelicans, egrets and alligators, the bald cypress can grow for thousands of years and reach heights of 100-150 feet. The largest pond cypress, called “the Senator,” was estimated to be 3,500 years old, making it the ¬fifth oldest tree in the world. Old-growth bald cypress are sought after for their heartwood—the cypressene oil they contain is a natural preservative, making the wood resistant to both rot and insects. While the trees are prized for both their construction and ornamental values, they also play a vital role in wetland ecology. The buttressed trunks and knees of living cypress, as well as the fallen, dead trees, provide habitat for fi¬sh. Eagles and ospreys nest in the crowns. The seeds are a food source for squirrels, wild turkeys, evening grosbeaks and wood ducks.