Nodding Pond Cypress
Taxodium ascendens 'Nutans'
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Recent scientific studies have confirmed that cypresses are an ancient plant family with an extraordinarily long lineage. Fossil records trace their existence back to ‘Pangea’, the supercontinent that broke apart around 175 million years ago.
Modern species are native to the southeastern United States, ranging from their northern extent in Virginia through to Louisiana and Florida further south. Pond cypresses are distinctive trees found naturally around the edges of ponds and swamps, lake margins and within wetlands, much preferring wet, poorly drained and acidic soils, just above sea level.
They are slow growing, with a conical form that will often reach a height of around 10 metres. In springtime, bright green foliage appears, growing straight up from the branch, and gives the tree a delicate feathery appearance. In autumn the needles turn glorious shades of orange and bronze.
The maximum longevity of a Cypress is around 1000 years. However, The Senator, a famous tree in Longwood, Florida is estimated to be over 3,400 years old.
The young Taxodium ascendens 'Nutans' that are planted by The Great Basin at Melbourne Hall replace older, much taller Taxodium distichums that had to be felled due to disease. To source the young trees, Ian Earl (Estate Manager) and assistant, Sam drove to a specialist tree nursery near Antwerp, Belgium to collect large specimens of this compact, medium-sized Pond cypress that you see here today.
All photography copyright © Andrea Jones
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