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Cypress Knees

Bald Cypress knees along the Kingfisher Trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

At Pinnacle Mountain State Park, the trees have knees. The Bald Cypress trees, at least. These giant, water-loving trees grow in and around the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, and play an important role in the life of the park’s lowland forests. 

Bald cypress trees provide a habitat for a multitude of wildlife, and have a great mat of roots which holds the soil along the edge of the river and slows floodwaters. The strong mat of roots contains knees, which look like rounded spikes sticking out above the water near the base of the tree.
 
Some scientists believe that the knees act as a snorkel, and bring air to the trees submerged roots allowing the tree to access oxygen in the slow moving, swampy water. The unique roots are also thought to assist in anchoring the giant trees in soft, muddy soil. 
 
The next time you are at the park, take a walk along the gentle Kingfisher Trail and make sure to look for the Bald Cypress trees, or as they are often called, the trees that have knees.
 

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