Growing up in southern Louisiana, I’ve always been fascinated with cypress knees, which are a part of the bald cypress tree. The Cajun French call them boscoyos, and the TV show Swamp People once pointed this out. If you’ve never seen boscoyos, here you go:
I took these pictures recently walking in a lake. Yes, you read correctly; I was walking in a lake that has been drained in the Lakewood subdivision of North Little Rock, AR where I live.
Even though many have wondered what boscoyos are for implicitly, botanist Francois André Michaux, in 1819, explicitly said, “No cause can be assigned for their existence.”
Nearly two hundred years later, no one, especially in the field of science, has yet discovered the specific purpose of boscoyos. Some think they help anchor the tree, others propose they slow floodwaters, some that they oxygenate the roots, and finally others that they catch drifting sediment. However, the research proves not one of these, although sediment has been found within the “underwater cave” portion of the cypress knee, as more easily seen below.
Hopefully this is enough background info for you to begin to understand why I wanted to write a poem about boscoyos as well as for you to better understand the term and poem below. Here’s two more puzzle pieces that continue to amaze me: Charles Darwin referred to the origin of boscoyos as an “abominable mystery.” Hurricane strength winds aren’t enough to knock down cypress trees! Ok, last alluring addition: boscoyos are classified in the redwood family. BOOM!
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