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Tree Growth Enigma — Cypress Knees Mystery

From a distance, you might think you are seeing a group of upright squirrels admiring the view under the shade of a tree. However, as you move closer you realize these are not squirrels, but instead a group of stunted woody shoots from the nearby cypress tree’s incredible root system. These are the cypress tree’s knees!

The cypress knees true function is unknown. Perhaps they help aerate the tree’s roots in swampy areas? Perhaps they grow to prevent soil erosion? Perhaps they once served a purpose for the tree, but no longer do, except peculiarly poke out from the ground. No one knows, but one thing is for sure—their odd shape makes them even more mysterious!

To celebrate this tree root enigma, celebrated local photographer Joan Tilton offers up her fresh lens on The Woodlands’ cypress knees for us to enjoy!