The cypresses keep their secrets from the prying investigator.
-J. E. Rogers,1905
In 2012, Cypress knees have remained an enduring mystery to Botanists and Tour Guides alike.. The “Knees” are found around the base of Cypress trees and can take on a variety of strange and wondrous forms such as Circles, and singular perhaps scary looking specimens like this, reaching for the sunlight and – growth. There are some camps who see the knees as stabilizers that help the trees to stay upright in their sometimes wet environment. Others believe they help the trees to breathe. Whatever their true purpose, (do we really want to know?) they also provide a window into the mythos of the swamp and how swamps can still be perceived as scary to humans on a visceral level. After all, who wouldn’t be slightly, pleasantly spooked by seeing this mysterious hand reaching up from the water while on a sunset boardwalk or wet walk though a swamp? It’s OK to admit, that if you saw this eery hand reaching up toward the sky you too, would look around to see what else might be lurking under the tannin rich water near you…..
To read more about Cypress Knees, I suggest this .PDF from Harvard.