Atlantic White Cypress

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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A couple months ago I was reading backpacker Magazine when I seen a short article on the batona Trail and the Pine Barrens.The article made two mistakes.Namely it said that Pine Barren Treefrogs were endemic to South Jersey which their not and the article four times referred to the Atlantic White Cypress that fills the swamps. I wrote back and explained that the treefrogs were not endemic to NJ but also occurred in several southeastern states as well.I also corrected the Atlantic White Cypress to Cedar.Well I forgot all about this and last night at work I opened up this months issue and what do i find in the Backtracking section where they put corrections but my name in print.They remedied the range for the treefrogs though they left out South Carolina and Florida in the range states but they refused to correct the Cypress/Cedar correction.Now I know as well as most of you that our cedar isn't a real cedar.Weather it's a cypress or not I don't know.Their nuts are similar but cypress sheds it's needles in fall and of course are cedar does not.Their conclusion was that some folks call it cypress and I guess when it comes to common names you can call anything anything you want. My question is has anyone here ever heard anyone refer to our cedar as cypress? Is it a cypress? I know the bark is also similar.I know people down here that refuse to use the work creek but insist on crik and will give you a ration of crap if you pronounce the river as anything but Morris.So is cypress correct or is backpacker just displaying it's local ignorance?
 

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Spung-Man

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That is a good question, Manumuskin! Hmm, I had to look this one up.

When first scientifically described by Linnæus in 1753, he named the genus and species Cupressus thyoides. Cupressus is cypress. In 1889 it was changed to Chamaecyparis thyoides (Britton, Cat. Pl. New Jersey, 299 [1889]) although Sargent’s (1890) seminal 14-volume Silva of North America, which I used as my reference, still has it listed as a cypress a year after the proposed change. Apparently even today botanists can make a good argument that Chamaecyparis or Chamæcyparis is not really generically distinct from Cupressus.

More surprisingly, the New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary: Index of Garden Plants (Griffiths 1992) still has the old name “white cypress” listed first—followed by “coast white cedar.” So the Brits still prefer to use the old cypress name as a convention. However, botanically it is technically neither a true cypress or a true cedar. Most US-based horticulturalists use Atlantic whitecedar or Atlantic white-cedar; and “white cedar” with a space is discouraged. Also widely used in the US is southern white-cedar.

Now about the name Manumuskin…
When the Swedes (Rawson) first arrive along that river in the early 1700s (Canute Neck), they spell it Mannomuscan.

S-M
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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That is a good question, Manumuskin! Hmm, I had to look this one up.

When first scientifically described by Linnæus in 1753, he named the genus and species Cupressus thyoides. Cupressus is cypress. In 1889 it was changed to Chamaecyparis thyoides (Britton, Cat. Pl. New Jersey, 299 [1889]) although Sargent’s (1890) seminal 14-volume Silva of North America, which I used as my reference, still has it listed as a cypress a year after the proposed change. Apparently even today botanists can make a good argument that Chamaecyparis or Chamæcyparis is not really generically distinct from Cupressus.

More surprisingly, the New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary: Index of Garden Plants (Griffiths 1992) still has the old name “white cypress” listed first—followed by “coast white cedar.” So the Brits still prefer to use the old cypress name as a convention. However, botanically it is technically neither a true cypress or a true cedar. Most US-based horticulturalists use Atlantic whitecedar or Atlantic white-cedar; and “white cedar” with a space is discouraged. Also widely used in the US is southern white-cedar.

Now about the name Manumuskin…
When the Swedes (Rawson) first arrive along that river in the early 1700s (Canute Neck), they spell it Mannomuscan.

S-M
Locals frequently pronounce it Mannamuskin and I have heard it called Port Crik as well referring to the fact it empties out in Port Elizabeth.
I think they made a mistake with their White Cypress remark and came up with a quick rescue device in the fact you can't really argue common names.To me the bark between cypress and cedar is indistinguishable but everything else about them separates them.
Now i have a woman on facebook argueing with me that Spotted Wintergreen is really Spotted Pippesewa because it doesn't have wintergreen oil in it.I sent her the wikipedia link that uses both wintergreen and pippesewa as common names.Thats why we have latin names.I don't particularly like latin.My ancestors (the Goths) used to kick the Romans all over Europe and I can still hear them begging for mercy in Latin. Thats why it's a dead language.My ancestors killed it.
 
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johnnyb

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Al, you triggered an old "itch" of mine: cedar, cypress - how do you tell them part in the field and why using scientific/Latin names cuts down the confusion. So I dug out my favorite plant manual: "Flora of Virginia" by Alan S. Weakley, 2012, which covers Pine Barrens plants pretty well. Weakley says that "... Recrnt studies ... indicate that the separation of Taxodiaceae from the Cupressaceae is not warranted, and they are here combined. ..." In this one section he includes Chamaecyparis thyroids, Atlantic White-cedar; Taxodium sp, Cypress; Juniperus sp., Red Cedar; and Thuja occidentals, Northern White-cedar. Weakley thus puts all these genus in one family, but clearly there is no "White Cypress" but there are two species of "White-cedar".
Go get 'em, Tiger!
 

manumuskin

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I"m afraid that this might be a case of arguing with stupid. If you argue with stupid people they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. They acknowledged the mistake about PBTF's but I think they will insist that common names are up to interpretation and that if i can refer to tick larvae as chiggers and that are cedar is really a juniper then I really don't have an argument. I mean Johnny these are obviously the type of people who would refer to the Morris river and the Mahreese and not be ashamed to do so.They probably think a crik to be the same as a creek as well.No talking to folks like that.