Wood Series – Pecky Cypress

Not a week passes that we aren’t asked: “What type of wood is that?” We don’t always know the answer to that question. At times, an antique door or mantel will be covered in several layers of old paint that we have to peel back to expose the wood. Other times, we run across a rare wood that requires a little research on our part to determine the species. Since a majority of our inventory is made of wood, we thought it would be a great idea to feature some of the more interesting species in a few of our newsletters. This week is all about a rather rare and exotic wood, pecky cypress.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The unique pattern seen in this piece of pecky cypress is created by the pockets or recesses caused by a fungus that attacked the tree while it was alive.

Cypress wood in general is rather light in color, has a straight grain and medium texture. Cypress trees are readily found in Southern Swamplands and can be easily identified by their unique ariel roots, called knees, that protrude above the ground or water. These trees are deciduous (unlike most conifers) and drop all their airy, needle-like leaves each the winter. Pecky cypress is rare in that it only occurs in less than 10% of cypress trees and only in older trees. The beautiful and yet unique design in the wood is actually caused by a fungus, polyporus amarus. The airborne fungi sets up after a tree has been damaged. A limb break, lightening strike, fire or any injury that creates damage or a break in the bark can allow the fungi to set up in the living tissue of the tree. As the fungus grows it creates pockets or recesses in the wood. Once the tree is cut, the fungus dies and the pecky can not continue to grow.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo shows a local cypress tree growing next to a large pond. The tree has dropped all of it’s needle like leaves for the winter.

Pecky cypress is a popular choice for doors, ceilings, wall paneling, and table tops. While you can paint this very durable wood, why would anyone want to?!! The characteristics of this rare wood are so incredibly gorgeous it deserves nothing less than to shine in all it’s glory! We currently have approximately 500 square feet of pecky cypress in stock at our wood showroom. The boards are 5″ w x 14′ long x 1″ thick and retail for $8 per square foot. Stop by our wood showroom during regular business hours to view this gorgeous wood!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

In this photo you can see the arial roots, or knees, of the cypress tree protruding above the ground.

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