Taxodium

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n Taxodium bald cypress; swamp cypress
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n taxodium A genus of coniferous trees, of the tribe Abietineæ, type of the subtribe Taxodinæ. It is characterized by a globose or obovoid cone composed of scales with an entire margin, at the apex woody, dilated, and truncate, on the back umbonate or mucronate, and including the two irregularly three-angled seeds, which contain six to nine cotyledons. There are two species, natives of the United States and Mexico. They are loosely branched trees, bearing alternate, somewhat spirally set leaves, linear and spreading in two ranks, or small, appressed, and scalelike on the flowering branches. The slender leaf-bearing branches resemble pinnate leaves, and fall off in autumn like the leaves of the larch. The flowers are monœcious, both sexes on the same branches, the staminate forming drooping spiked panicles, while the female form sessile globose aments scattered singly or in pairs, and closely crowded with spirally set scales. The fruit is a hard round cone, an inch long, with its very thick angular peltate stalked scales gaping apart at maturity, but persistent after the fall of the seeds, which are large, shining, and coriaceous or corky on the surface. T. distichum, the bald or red cypress of the United States, is characteristic of southern swamps near the sea-coast, occupying large tracts to the exclusion of other trees, and extending often into deep water around lake-margins. It occurs from Delaware to Texas, and also in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys to Indiana and Illinois. It often reaches a great size, sometimes 150 feet in height and 36 in girth, and furnishes a valuable wood which is soft, close, easily worked or split, and very durable, and is much employed for cooperage, railway-ties, fences, posts, and shingles. It is almost indestructible in water or in contact with earth, but is often injured, especially beyond the Mississippi, by a fungus, a species of Dædalea. Two varieties are distinguished by lumbermen—the white cypress, with light-brown wood, and the black cypress, with dark-brown harder and more durable wood, at first heavier than water; the sap-wood of both is nearly white. The tree is also the source of an essential oil, a superior turpentine, and a medicinal resin, and from the beauty of its feathery foliage it is valued for lawn cultivation. It is especially remarkable for its habit, when growing under water, of throwing up large smooth conical projections known as cypress-knees, commonly 2 (sometimes 7) feet high, covered with reddish bark like the roots, and hollow, as is the base of the tree itself. They are by some supposed to be aerating organs, by others to serve as braces to afford a stable lateral support in the yielding bottom, and by others to be undeveloped or arrested tree-trunks. (Compare cypress-knee, knee, 3, and cypress.) The tree itself often rises out of water as a straight gray shaft 80 or 90 feet high before dividing into its flat spreading top, its base ribbed by large projecting buttresses, each continuous below with a strong and branching root, from horizontal branches of which the knees arise. The tree is also remarkable for its great longevity, growing rapidly at first, in cultivation sometimes adding an inch in diameter a year, but soon becoming as slow-growing as the yew, and adding only an inch in twelve to thirty years. The other species, T. mucronatum, the Mexican cypress, or ahuehete, forms extensive forests in the Sierra Madre, at elevations from 4,000 to 9,000 feet, itself often reaching 70 to 100 feet high, with longer and pendulous branchlets and more persistent greener leaves. It attains even a greater size and age than T. distichum; the celebrated cypress of Montezuma, in the gardens of Chapultepec, variously estimated from 700 to 2,000 years old, is 41 to 45 feet in girth and about 120 feet high; one at Atlixco is about 76 feet, and another, near Oaxaca, 112 feet in girth; the latter was estimated by A. de Candolle and Asa Gray to be at least 4,000 years old. A third species, T. heterophyllum (for which see water-pine, under pine), is now separated as Glyptostrobus heterophyllus, on account of its obovoid cone and stalked seeds. The genus is of great antiquity geologically, being found in the Cretaccous and in great abundance in the Tertiary of nearly all parts of the world.
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Usage

In literature:

The trunk of a taxodium lay prostrate by the side of our path.
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid
Taxodium distichum (Deciduous Cypress) pendulum.
"Trees and Shrubs for English Gardens" by Ernest Thomas Cook
Taxodium distichum in Great Dismal Swamp, 725.
"Principles of Geology" by Charles Lyell
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In science:

Taxodium distichum ), and 60 stems of 8 additional species (i.e., other species).
New Tests of Spatial Segregation Based on Nearest Neighbor Contingency Tables
The plot contains 13 different tree species, of which we only consider two, namely, bald cypress (Taxodium distichum ) and black gum trees (Nyssa sylvatica ).
Directional Clustering Tests Based on Nearest Neighbor Contingency Tables
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