Mar 18, 2012

Cool fires protect these trees

Dwarf cypress prairies are common in The Big Cypress,

But why do they grow where they do?

Short and stunted but probably quite old

Granted, they don’t grow much …

They are what we call in the lexicon as a bonsai tree.

That, in fact, is a big part of their success.

They most commonly take root on the swamp’s version of a limestone moonscape covered over with a thin layer of nutrient poor marl on which, and here’s the important part, only a meager offering of grass can manage to grow.

Cypress grow in peat (background)
and marl (foreground)

That causes wildfires to pass quickly across these areas,

depriving the flames from lingering very long or getting very hot.

Who says cypress only grow on peat?

1 comment:

Tabor said...

That first photo is of a lovely tree. It does look like something that has seen a rough life.