Hidden away in Southern Illinois is one of Nature's masterpieces.
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The 209 Knee Tree
Located in the southwest corner of Eagle Pond, this cypress tree was core-aged in the 1950's during a drought. At that time, the tree was estimated to be over 800 years old! With the water low, researchers also seized the opportunity to count the 209 "knees" or pneumatophores of this ancient bald cypress tree. These knees are cone-like extensions of the tree's root system that help to stabilize the tree and promote aeration, suggesting that this particular tree needed a really good grip on the soil. This tree also holds the record for the tallest knee, measuring in at a whopping 11 feet 9 inches from the soil surface to tip!