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Characteristic Mid-Atlantic Wetland Type - Cypress Swamp

Bald cyprus. Credit: Fish & Wildlife Service

Cypress swamps are found in poorly drained, saturated soils with high levels of organic matter. Their water levels are tidally influenced and some standing water year-round is typical. The bald cypress itself is a deciduous conifer found in coastal marshes, swamps, pocosins, lake and pond margins, and brown and blackwater rivers of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, as well as coastal areas of other southeastern states. The tree often is interspersed with hardwoods such as the swamp or water tupelo. Plant diversity in cypress swamps is high due to regular flooding, varied microtopography, and many opportunities for species recruitment from surrounding habitat.

The bald cypress can reach 50–100' and can be identified by swelling at the bottom of the trunk, or buttressing, an adaptation designed to stabilize the tree’s base. Bald cypress trees also grows “knees,” or pneumatophores, roots that stick out of the water and both stabilize the trees and allow gas exchange with the atmosphere.

National Information
Characteristic Wetland Types for the Mid-Atlantic Region




Mid-Atlantic Region || Mid-Atlantic Env'l Assessment & Innovation || Mid-Atlantic Wetlands

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