Leyland Cypress – Not in “FDR’s Funeral Train”

Q: I’m reading “FDR’s Funeral Train” by Robert Klara. He describes the trip on April 13, 1945, traveling from Warm Springs to Washington, stating that the cortege passed “groves of Leyland cypresses”. Were they growing in South Carolina back then?

A: This is one example of how horticultural mis-information is spread. The events in the book are true but Leyland cypress was not introduced into the Southeast until the 1950’s. It could not have been growing in groves alongside the railroad tracks during FDR’s final train ride. Perhaps groves of red cedar or loblolly pine or white pine but not Leyland cypress. Great catch!


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