Plant Collector – Taxodium ascendans "Nutans"

A blaze of autumn colour on Taxodium ascendans "Nutans"

A blaze of autumn colour on Taxodium ascendans "Nutans"


Nubbly knees

Nubbly knees

We will take spot autumn colour where we can get it here. Big mass displays of fiery autumn shades are more typical of drier, less windy climates with sharp seasonal change (hotter summers and colder winters) and predominantly deciduous native flora. Think the maples of Canada. But this taxodium puts on a splendid orange display. It is a conifer, believe it or not, and yes there are a few deciduous conifers. This one comes from the south east of USA and makes a handsome, columnar tree with short branches, a little upwardly curved. Our tree is about 10 metres high after 40 years. It is notable also for its ability to grow in waterlogged conditions, as will its close relative the swamp cypress or Taxodium distichum. Taxodiums are also renowned, along with a few other swamp trees, for pushing up nubbly protruberances above ground. Attached to the roots, these are commonly referred to as knees and you certainly can not mow beneath these trees. Apparently the knees only appear when they are growing in wet conditions – this tree is by a stream- but it remains unproven why these growths occur.