A different sort of rainbow
As I’ve wandered in nature during the worsening drought in Texas, I’ve seen many plants that have looked stressed, along with some that have died from dehydration. In the case of the riverbank-loving bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum), usually only the approach of winter causes the tree’s leaves to turn yellow, orange, red and brown as a prelude to falling off, but last week I saw a bald* cypress that was entering that stage already. It was on the west bank of Bull Creek, a stream that I was able for the first time to walk down the middle of because there wasn’t a drop of water in it. Attracted by the color of the reddening leaves against the clear blue sky overhead, I took the picture you see here, which seems to me to show an ironic sort of “rain”bow.
* People call the tree “bald” because, as opposed to evergreens, this species does lose its leaves and stands bare-branched through the winter.
(Visit the USDA website for more information about Taxodium distichum, including a clickable map showing where the species grows.)
© 2011 Steven Schwartzman