Okefenokee Tussock Growth

Tussock growth of Bur Marigolds (genus Bidens) growing from a stump protruding from the waters of Billy’s Lake in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

The canoe trails of the Okefenokee Swamp are full of character and adventure. As one paddles through the black water, eyes peer upward at the heights of the towering cypress. But don’t forget to look ahead!, the waterways are often marked with obstacles.

One of those interesting obstructions which force some agile steering is known as Tussock Growth. A tussock is an abnormal tufted growth of vegetation on a tree or stump, typically caused by a disturbance. In the case of the Okefenokee, this “disturbance” was the logging of the swamp in the early 1900’s.

The scars and stumps of the logging operations still remain throughout the Okefenokee. Protruding from the surface during low-water periods, these remaining buttresses of harvested cypress accumulate organic matter and hold moisture; a perfect platform for the growth of grasses, wildflowers and shrubs. These tufts of vegetation dot the lakes and canals throughout the swamp, like wild hair-dos on the heads of Ents or trolls bathing in the dark waters.

The Swamp is full of character… especially if you let your imagination roll!

iNat Observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/32843501 

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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