Bald cypress stand with yellow leaves

Bald cypress rise from the water at Trap Pond State Park near Laurel, DE. 

The September Bay Naturalist column is about the bald cypress. How much do you know about this tree? Take this quiz to find out. Answers are below.

1. The tallest known bald cypress, at 145 feet, is found near which Virginia city?

A. Newport News

B. Norfolk

C. Virginia Beach

D. Williamsburg

2. The Chesapeake watershed is home to the northernmost stand of bald cypress in the United States. Where is this stand?

A. Big Cypress Memorial Park in Delaware

B. Lost Swamp State Par in Delaware

C. Needles & Nobs State Park in Delaware

D. Trap Pond State Park in Delaware

3. The crowns of young bald cypress have a distinct shape. What is it?

A. Hourglass

B. Oval

C. Pyramid

D. Rectangle

4. Bald cypress drop all of their needles during the fall. Trees that do this are called: 

A. Anadromous

B. Autumnal

C. Coniferic

D. Deciduous

5. While the bald cypress can live for more than 1,000 years, approximately how long is their usual lifespan?

A. 300 years

B. 450 years

C. 600 years

D. 750 years

6. The bald cypresses is monoecious. What does this mean?

A. Each tree contains separate male and female flowers.

B. Each tree contains flowers that have both male (stamen) and female (ovary) parts.

C. Each tree has either male or female flowers.

D. Each tree bears female flowers in the first 200 years or so of its life, and then bears male flowers in the later years of its life.

7. Young bald cypress cones do not resemble typical conifer cones, though they do become woodier as autumn goes on. What do this tree’s cones look like?

A. Clusters of small (about a half inch), smooth deep red berrylike orbs

B. White, papery, 2-inch catkins

C. Tough, green, scaly balls about an inch in diameter

D. Feathery brown 1-inch pods that grow redder as autumn approaches winter

8. Bald cypress were once heavily lumbered for their rot-resistant wood. Why is this not the case today? 

A. There are fewer bald cypress to harvest.

B. Most of remaining bald cypresses are in not easily accessed wetlands.

C. They are too slow-growing for agroforestry.

D. All of the above.

9. Why are bald cypress growing along or in watery areas beneficial for the Bay’s water quality?

A. They absorb pollutants.

B. They take up floodwater and slowly disperse it.

C. They prevent erosion along the banks of the river or stream.

D. All of the above

10. Match the animal with the benefit it receives from the bald cypress.

Species

Amphibians

Catfish

Squirrels

Wood ducks

Benefit

Eat the seeds

Nest in the trunk

Use for spawning or nursery grounds

Take refuge amid submerged roots

ANSWERS

1. D; 2. D; 3. C; 4. D; 5. C; 6. A; 7. C; 8. D; 9. D; 10. Amphibians / Use for spawning or nursery grounds; Catfish / Take refuge amid submerged roots; Squirrels / Eat the seeds; Wood ducks / Nest in the trunk

Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at kgaskell@bayjournal.com.

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