Memorial Sunrise – Florida Cypress Swamp

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The Memorial Tree is the king of this Florida cypress swamp, along Fisheating Creek,
near Lake Okeechobee.

This is the famous Memorial Tree, in Fisheating Creek, Florida. It is a massive bald cypress known for its impressive array of “knees”. Strangely enough, scientists don't actually know the purpose of these knees. They originally presumed that the knees supply oxygen to the root structure during flooding, but this has come into question recently. Indeed, it is typically swamp-growing trees, like those in this Florida cypress swamp, which show a multitude of knees. However, wetland trees which have had the knees remove continue to thrive. Additionally, lab work shows that the knees are actually poor at absorbing oxygen. Thus, the current working hypothesis is that they serve simply as a sort of buttress, for root stability in the wet unstable soil.

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