I was just thinking of this recently, and now that I have a digital
camera, I need to go visit it again.
What I'm referring to is the Bald Cypress. This tree is so rare that
there is only a single tree in the entire state. Well, a single tree
that wasn't planted by man that is. Down in or on the edge of a
cedar swamp in Cape May County there is a single lone Bald Cypress.
It's described in a book I have that was written in 1910, and also
another book I have from the 1980s.
Bald Cypress 5' 11 1/2", in the NJ Natural Lands Trust preserve
The book from 1910- the full title is "Annual Report of the New
Jersey State Museum, Including a Report of the Plants of
Southern New Jersey, With Especial Reference to the Flora of the
Pine Barrens.", by Witmer Stone, 1910, but published in 1911. I have
two copies of it. Woodrow Wilson was governor of New Jersey when
this book came out. His portrait is inside. The book is very thick,
with 809 pages, not including the index and the photographic plates
in the back after the index.
What Mr. Stone says about Bald Cypress in New Jersey is the
"Taxodium L. C. Rich.
Taxodium distichum (L.) Bald Cypress.
Cupressus disticha Linnĉus, Sp. Pl. 1003. [Virginia and Carolina].--
Beck, Bot. 338, 1833.-- Gray, Manual Ed. 1, 443, 1848.-- Hollick,
Rep. on Forests, 181, 1900.
Upon what evidence the Cypress was credited to New Jersey by Beck
and Gray I am unable to say, but more recent works have pretty
generally excluded our State from its range, or added it with doubt.
Search for it in the swamps of South Jersey failed until Mr. H.
Walker Hand pointed out a single tree on the edge of Sluice Creek,
not far from Dennisville, and informed me of another that formerly
grew further down the stream toward the bay. The suggestion has been
made that these trees were brought from farther south and planted
here, but we can find no positive evidence of this, while very old
residents remember them as being large trees in their youth. The
locality is peculiarly suitable for Cypress, and, judging by the
number of southern plants that have been discovered on the bay side
of Cape May County, the occurrence of the Cypress is by no means
remarkable. Dr. Arthur Hollick mentions several trees on the salt
marsh near Newark, north of our limits,
which were also alleged to have been introduced, but proof of the
fact was not obtainable, while condtions were just such as prevail
in the natural habitat of the species. This is the only other
occurrence of the tree in an apparently natural condition in the
In my opinion, the trees near Newark probably no longer exist. I
have seen and photographed the Sluice Creek tree, since I have a
book from the 1980s that tells how to find it. About 3/4 of a mile
from here there are two of them along a stream bank, a couple
hundred yards off of Route 30, but they are behind someone's house,
so I assume they were planted at some point.
When I re-scan my photos of the tree I will post them. When I
re-visit the tree I will bring the digital camera and the measuring