With all the wind, rain, and near freezing temperatures we’ve “enjoyed” in the past five days, I wondered what I would find when the sun came out yesterday and I went to Holden Arboretum to walk some of my favorite trails. My first stop was the gingko tree. I had waited for weeks, since Autumn began, for it to make the annual transition from green to golden. Last week before the wind, rain, and even a few snowflakes moved in, I finally saw what I had been waiting for. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. Unfortunately, here is what I saw yesterday when I rounded the curve in the trail and stood beneath its branches:
The weather had taken a sad toll on my beautiful tree, and I will have to wait another year to see it in all its glory. Thanks to this blog, I can see it in living color any time I want to revisit my “Color Me Autumn” blog posts. 😊
After taking several pictures of the gingko , I continued along the trail, pausing to take pictures of some of my favorite spots. But before I share the gallery of those photos, I want to show you another unusual tree, the baldcypress tree. It’s the only tree I am aware of that is noted for its knees. That’s right, knees. Take a look at the picture below. Do you see the knees?
They are those little stubby growths that almost look like large stones on the ground to the left of the two trees. According to Wikipedia…
A cypress knee is a term used in the biology of trees to describe the distinctive structures forming above the roots of a cypress tree of any of various species of the subfamily Taxodioideae. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps.
Most tree roots are underground, but, in another source I read, the knees of the baldcypress tree are part of the root system that come back to the surface. You can see these trees and their knees in swampy areas where the baldcypress trees grow. Apparently no one is sure of their exact purpose. If you visit Holden Arboretum and want to see them, take the trail around Blueberry Pond and keep your eyes along the edge of the water. That’s where you will find them. Below is another baldcypress, growing at the edge of Blueberry Pond. All baldcypress trees are deciduous conifers that lose their leaves (or needles) in the Fall.
If you look at the ground beneath the tree, and you will see that it is covered with orange-colored needles. I’m not sure why so many ferns are growing there, but I’m guessing the baldcypress needles have something to do with it. If someone reading this blog has the answer, I hope they will tell us what they know in the comment section. That way I can add it to what I have written here. Obviously my knowledge of these unique trees is limited.
Side note: Someone who has taken more biology classes than I have, called me to explain the reason for the baldcypress knees is that the roots of cypress trees are often (or usually) under water where they can’t get enough of the air they need to survive. For that reason, some roots will protrude out of the soil to get air. The “knees” are those protrusions.
Now let’s take a look at the other photos I captured on today’s trail walk: