Have you ever seen a tree’s knees?

While visiting New York’s Innisfree Garden last summer, I saw something that I’ve never seen before – the ‘knees’ of a tree.  Yes, that’s what they’re called!

From what I’ve gathered, this is unique to cypress trees that are planted near water.  The roots growing under the water send up woody projections, called knees. What’s the purpose?  Scientists aren’t 100% sure. Perhaps they’re a way to supply oxygen to the roots?  Perhaps they help stabilize the tree in soggy, wet soil?  Either way, they’re pretty cool to see!

Want to see more?  Click here to read about trees that grow nipples!  I kid you not.

 

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9 Comments

  • Swamp trees (aka bald cypress) are plenty in Texas and Louisiana. While growing up, my grandparents lived in Louisiana and had a set of ‘knees’ that had been cut and polished. The wooden sculpture was forever placed on the rock fireplace hearth or mantle. Happy memories. Thanks!

    Reply
    • After reading everyone’s response to the ‘knees’, I spent a lot of time online looking at the different things people have done with these things over the years, turning them into furniture, artwork, or sculptures (like your grandparents did). I’m so glad to see that those of you who are fortunate to have them ‘in your backyards’ treasure them as much as folks like me who have never seen them before!

      Reply
  • We have lots of native bald cypresses here in Austin, complete with knees. But I’m cracking up over Loree’s comment that they look like a gathering of squirrels. They do!

    Reply
    • Apparently they’re super common back east, but for us west-coasters this was definitely something I’ve never seen before!

      Reply
  • Cypress knees are so cool! And I love Innisfree. Worth a trip to Stone Crop in Cold Spring, NY at the same time as they are within an hour of each other.

    Reply
    • You’re so right! I actually did the chance to see Stonecrop gardens and loved, loved, loved it!

      Reply

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