virgin timber stands of the country. Trees up to 1,200 years old are
occasionally spotted, while a few individuals are known to have
achieved much greater longevity.
The greatest age limits generally are attained in the region from
South Carolina to Florida. Some in the Okefenokee Swamp of Florida
and Georgia are 750 to 845 years old and others up to 915 years old have
been found in southern Louisiana. Specimens in Flint River in southwest
Georgia and on the Santee River in South Carolina are 1,200 years of
The "Senator" near Sanford, reputed to be the largest cypress in
Florida, has an estimated age of about 3,500 years. A cypress in the
village of Santa Maria del Tule, Mexico is said to be more than 6,000
years old. This tree is over 42 feet in diameter and 125 feet tall.
A study of the annual rings reveals that cypress trees grow very
slowly, or at the rate of only about an inch in radius every 30 years. Of
course, all growth timber may exceed virgin stands both in height and
diameter. There is also a wide variation between individual trees and in
the same tree at different seasons.
After passing the rapid early stages, the growth gradually
decreases until the tree reaches a mature height of about 100 feet during
the first 100 years. It continues to grow taller for the next two or three
centuries before reaching a maximum height of about 125 feet,