What did Noah’s Ark and the first doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome have in common? Legend has it that both were made of the durable wood we know as cypress. In fact, it’s said that the doors of the original St. Peter’s were more than 1,100 years old when the building was torn down and reconstructed in the 1500s.
While growing, cypress trees generate cypressene, a naturally occurring preservative oil that makes cypress heartwood resistant to insects like termites and carpenter bees, decay, chemical corrosion, and other damaging elements. That’s one of the reasons why cypress is an architectural fixture in hot, humid, and salty coastal regions, as well as a popular alternative for cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated wood all over the country.