Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Balding cypress

with 4 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

Taxodium distichum is called bald cypress because, as the possumhaw that you saw last time was about to do, it loses its leaves in the winter. Along the way to that arboreal baldness, the leaves of this kind of cypress tree often turn warm colors that look especially vivid against a clear blue sky.

Date: November 26, 2012.  Place: Bull Creek Park in northwest Austin. (I just remembered that while I was doing some of my usual lying on the ground and contorting myself to aim upward and take this picture, a woman walked by and said to me: “You must be a professional photographer.” I asked her why she said that, and her answer was that she could tell I was looking for just the right angle to photograph the tree. Good for her for appreciating that.)

If you’d like to see a bald cypress “rainbow”—and with no lying on the ground or contortion necessary on your part—you can look back at a post from this blog’s early days, when the severe drought of 2011 brought on a premature changing and falling of some leaves. The site of that 2011 photograph was just a few hundred yards from where I took this one (and in between those two places is where I took the photo of a sycamore leaf that appeared in these pages a week ago).

And if you’d like to see how majestic these water-loving trees can become, you’re welcome to glance back at another early post that shows several venerable bald cypresses at the edge of a creek.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2013 at 6:21 AM

4 Responses

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  1. Such a beautiful tree!


    January 7, 2013 at 11:23 AM

  2. The cypress “rainbow” is so graceful. Maybe your cypress have real rain today – the charts are showing the highest totals over central Texas.

    This is lovely, too. When I first met bald cypress, I worried myself sick over trees that appeared to be infested with spider mites. I was sure they were being sucked dry just like my unfortunate Norfolk pine.

    I searched, but didn’t see any photos here of their seed balls. They’re quite interesting. It’s hard to think of them as “cones”, but I see that word used, too. They’re thick here this year, and the ground was littered for a while with seed balls marked like this: ” That would be the sort of mark left by squirrel teeth. I don’t know if they eat them, or only use them for gnawing.


    January 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    • In spite of the predictions of 4–6 inches of rain, we’ve had almost entirely a light downfall so far.

      I’m also fond of the seed balls of this tree, and like you I see something fat-squirrel-cheeks-like in the markings on them. Although I have some pictures of bald cypress seed balls from a few years ago, you’re right that I haven’t yet posted any here. Some other things that are a lot more common haven’t appeared here yet, either. So many pictures, so little time.

      By the way, as I was finishing that last sentence the rain intensified. Let’s hope the coming down keeps up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM

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