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An artistic shot of a Cypress knee.

Knees are woody projections sent above the normal water level, roughly horizontally from the roots, with a near-right-angle bend taking them roughly vertically downward into soil, usually passing through water first. One rather popular view of their function is that they provide oxygen to the roots that grow in the low dissolved oxygen waters typical of a swamp. However, there is little evidence for this; in fact, swamp-dwelling specimens whose knees are removed continue to thrive.

2009 by Peter Schulz