Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Six Specimen Of Remarkable Trees

Since my earlier post about California sperm trees, I decided to round up a list of trees that are mind--blowing in other ways...

Arbre du Tenere

A solitary acacia tree which was once regarded as the most isolated tree on Earth. It grew in the Tenere region of the Sahara in northwest Niger, over 400 KM from the next nearest tree. It was so famous that it was used as a landmark for traveling caravans. In 1973, a drunk driver managed to kill the tree by running over it with his truck. How you get so drunk that you manage to mow down the only tree for 400 KM on a flat desert is beyond explanation.

Great Banyan

In terms of sheer ground cover, this is the world's largest tree. Residing in a botanical garden in India, this species of Moraceae is over 250 years old and spreads by the method of dropping areal roots from its branches, creating an effect that looks like a whole forest rather than one tree. It covers an area of about four acres and has a road encircling it that is 330 meters circumference, but the tree continues to grow past even this boundary. Banyan trees around Asia routinely become objects of legend for their extreme age and spread.


In the Fishlake National Forest, Utah, there is the quaking aspen colony of trees which are all fed by a connected root system and thus count as a single clonal colony tree. This means that the tree just keeps spreading out roots, the roots shoot up more trees, and so on. This makes it count as the world's heaviest known living organism weighing over 6,600 short tons. It is also one of the oldest known living organisms, estimated at the age of 80,000 years old. This makes it older than the entire history of the modern homo sapiens (us) species. Given that the colony can even survive forest fires by simply replacing the trees with new stands from its roots, it could simply be immortal. 


Hyperion is a coastal redwood growing in Redwood National Park in Northern California. It is the tallest tree in the world at 379 feet tall at last measure. Redwood National Park is also home to many giant trees, including the famous one that you can drive a car through. Standing amid a Northern California Redwood forest can make you feel like a fairy-tale dwarf.

The Moon Trees

There is nothing remarkable about the moon trees, except that they are planted from seeds which NASA took into moon orbit on the Apollo 14 mission. The idea was to take tree seeds into space, bring them back, and plant them next to other trees to see if they develop differently. No significant difference has been seen in them some 20 years later. They constitute five different species, planted in various locations around the US, and some of them have even been given away.

The petrified trees of the US

There are several petrified forests declared as national parks in the United States, in Washington, California, Arizona, and Mississippi. While the trees are no longer standing, they are the fossilized remains of once-living trees now turned to solid stone, in a process called "permineralization". Petrified wood is the only instance of fossilization in which a 3D specimen of the organism is preserved. The various forests date back to some 255 million years ago.