Twelve Nights in Italy, the Trees that Grow in Water

I’m on a beautiful small island in the middle of an equally beautiful lake. All around is a dream-scape of scenery that would have artists whipping out their easels in a painting frenzy.

Everything about the scenery is exquisite, from the glass-like surface of the lake to the perfect tiny islands (home to mysterious rich people) and the backdrop of mountainous ridges with iced cake toppings.

I ignore it all in favour of a row of trees.

They’re not particularly exceptional looking, but they are unusual.

The trees aren’t on the land. They’re in the lake.

Admittedly they’re only a couple of feet from land, but the base of each of their trunks is a couple of feet underwater.

Bald Cypress

A board informs me they’re bald cypress, brought to Europe from the USA in the 17th century and that they can live for 1000 years.

The board also tells me that they ‘breathe’ through external roots that lead from the base of the trunk to the surface of the water. I suppose like a snorkel.

The thing is, these trees don’t seem to have snorkel roots. I scan the surface of the water but there are no woody tubes gasping for breath.

Maybe these ones have evolved, maybe they have gills.

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