Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Yule tree and the 10 most magnificent other trees in the world

It's Christmas season and I am extra unusually busy today.. experimenting with a new posting strategy. .and then off to get a tree & get presents ready and cards mailed off. Everything else in my life is changing but Christmas still remains..
Hey, I have kids, well-teenagers- and amazing Christmas memories, I do love Christmas!

I think a Christmas (or Yule) tree should be on this list.

10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World.

from a neatorama.com posting - click heading to see full article

"A tree is a wonderful living organism which gives shelter, food,
warmth and protection to all living things. It even gives shade to
those who wield an axe to cut it down
" - Buddha.

There are probably hundreds of majestic and magnificent trees in the world - of these, some are particularly special:

10. Lone Cypress in Monterey

The Lone Cypress
(Image credit: bdinphoenix [flickr])


(Image credit: mikemac29 [flickr])

Buffeted by the cold Pacific Ocean wind, the scraggly Lone Cypress in Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula, California, isn’t a particularly large tree. It makes up for its small size, however, with its iconic status as a stunningly beautiful tree in splendid isolation, framed by an even more beautiful background of the Pacific Ocean.

9. Circus Trees

As a hobby, bean farmer Axel Erlandson [wiki] shaped trees - he pruned, bent, and grafted trees into fantastic shapes and called them "Circus Trees." For example, to make this "Basket Tree" arborsculpture, Erlandson planted six sycamore trees in a circle and then grafted them together to form the diamond patterns.

Basket Circus Tree
Basket Tree (Image credit: jpeepz [flickr])

Circus Tree with Two Legs
The two-legged tree (Image credit: Vladi22, Wikipedia)

Ladder Tree
Ladder tree (Image credit: Arborsmith)


Erlandson was very secretive and refused to reveal his methods on how to grow the Circus Trees (he even carried out his graftings behind screens to protect against spies!) and carried the secrets to his grave.

The trees were later bought by millionaire Michael Bonfante, who transplanted them to his amusement park Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy in 1985.

8. Giant Sequoias: General Sherman

General Sherman Tree
(Image credit: Humpalumpa [flickr])

Giant Sequoias only grow in Sierra Nevada, California, are the world’s biggest trees (in terms of volume). The biggest is General Sherman in the Sequoia National Park - 2,200 years old, 275 feet tall, and weighs over 6000 tons.

Each year, the tree adds enough wood to make a regular 60-foot tall tree. It’s no wonder that naturalist John Muir said "The Big Tree is Nature’s forest masterpiece, and so far as I know, the greatest of living things."

7. Coast Redwood: Hyperion and Drive-Thru Trees

Stratosphere GiantThere is another sequoia species (not to be confused with Giant Sequoia) that is quite remarkable: the Coast Redwood, the tallest trees in the world.

The reigning champion is a tree called Hyperion in the Redwood National Park, identified by researcher Chris Atkins and amateur naturalist Michael Taylor in 2006. Measuring over 379 feet (155.6 115 m) tall, Hyperion beat out the previous record holder Stratosphere Giant [wiki] in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park (at 370 feet / 112.8 m).

That’s not all that’s amazing about the Coast Redwood: there are four giant California redwoods big enough that you can drive your car through them!

The most famous of the drive-through trees is the Chandelier Tree [wiki] in Leggett, California. It’s a 315 foot tall redwood tree, with a 6 foot wide by 9 foot tall hole cut through its base in the 1930s.

Chandelier Tree
Chandelier Tree. (Image credit: hlh-abg [flickr])

6. Chapel-Oak of Allouville-Bellefosse

Chapel Oak Tree
Chapel-Oak of Allouville-Bellefosse (Image credit: Old trees in Netherlands & Europe)

The Chêne-Chapelle (Chapel-Oak) of Allouville-Bellefosse is the most famous tree in France - actually, it’s more than just a tree: it’s a building and a religious monument all in one.

In 1669, l’Abbe du Detroit and du Cerceau decided to build a chapel in (at that time) a 500 years old or so oak (Quercus robur) tree made hollow by a lightning bolt. The priests built a small altar to the Virgin Mary. Later on, a second chapel and a staircase were added.

Now, parts of the tree are dead, the crown keeps becoming smaller and smaller every year, and parts of the tree’s bark, which fell off due to old age, are covered by protective oak shingles. Poles and cables support the aging tree, which in fact, may not live much longer. As a symbol, however, it seems that the Chapel-Oak of Allouville-Bellefosse may live on forever.

5. Quaking Aspen: Pando (The Trembling Giant)

Aspen Grove
Aspen grove (Image credit: scottks1 [flickr])

Aspen in winter and snow
Quaking Aspen in winter (Image credit: darkmatter [flickr])

Pando [wiki] or the Trembling Giant in Utah is actually a colony of a single Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) tree. All of the trees (technically, "stems") in this colony are genetically identical (meaning, they’re exact clones of one another). In fact, they are all a part of a single living organism with an enormous underground root system.

Pando, which is Latin for "I Spread," is composed of about 47,000 stems spread throughout 107 acres of land. It estimated to weigh 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest known organism. Although the average age of the individual stems are 130 years, the entire organism is estimated to be about 80,000 years old!

4. Montezuma Cypress: The Tule Tree

Tule Tree next to a church
The Tule Tree Towers over a church next to it (Image credit: jubilohaku [flickr])

Girth of the Tule Tree
Full width of the Tule Tree (Image credit: Gengiskanhg, Wikipedia)

Detail of knotted burl of the Tule Tree
Close-up of the tree’s gnarled trunk. Local legends say that you can make out animals like jaguars and elephants in the trunk, giving the tree the nickname of "the Tree of Life" (Image credit: jvcluis [flickr])

El Árbol del Tule [wiki] ("The Tule Tree") is an especially large Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. This tree has the largest trunk girth at 190 feet (58 m) and trunk diameter at 37 feet (11.3 m). The Tule tree is so thick that people say you don’t hug this tree, it hugs you instead!

3. Banyan Tree: Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

The Banyan tree is named after "banians" or Hindu traders who carry out their business under the tree. Even if you have never heard of a Banyan tree (it was the tree used by Robinson Crusoe for his treehouse), you’d still recognize it. The shape of the giant tree is unmistakable: it has a majestic canopy with aerial roots running from the branches to the ground.

Banyan tree
Banyan tree (Image credit: Diorama Sky [flickr])

If you were thinking that the Banyan tree looks like the trees whose roots snake through the ruins of the Ta Prohm temple like tentacles of the jungle (Lara Croft, anyone?) at Ankor, Cambodia , you’d be right!

Banyan tree at Ta Prohm temple
Banyan tree (or is it silk-cotton tree?) in the ruins of Ta Prohm, Ankor, Cambodia
(Image Credit: Casual Chin [flickr])

One of the most famous species of Banyan,is the Sri Maha Bodhi [wiki] tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is said that the tree was grown from a cutting from the original tree under which Buddha became enlightened in the 6th century BC.

Planted in 288 BC, it is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world, with a definitive planting date!

2. Bristlecone Pine: Methuselah and Prometheus, the Oldest Trees in the World.


Methuselah Grove (Image Credit: NOVA Online)

Prometheus bristlecone pine grove
Bristlecone pine grove in which Prometheus grew (Image credit: James R. Bouldin, Wikipedia)

The oldest living tree in the world is a White Mountains, California, bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) named Methuselah [wiki], after the Biblical figure who lived to 969 years old. The Methuselah tree, found at 11,000 feet above sea level, is 4,838 years old - it is not only the oldest tree but also the oldest living non-clonal organism in the world.

Before Methuselah was identified as the world’s oldest tree by Edmund Schulman in 1957, people thought that the Giant Sequoias were the world’s oldest trees at about 2,000 years old. Schulman used a borer to obtain a core sample to count the growth rings of various bristlecone pines, and found over a dozen trees over 4,000 years old.

The story of Prometheus [wiki] is even more interesting: in 1964, Donald R. Currey [wiki], then a graduate student, was taking core samples from a tree named Prometheus. His boring tool broke inside the tree, so he asked for permission from the US Forest Service to cut it down and examine the full cross section of the wood. Surprisingly the Forest Service agreed! When they examined the tree, Prometheus turned out to be about 5,000 years old, which would have made it the world’s oldest tree when the scientist unwittingly killed it!

Stump of Prometheus
Stump of the Prometheus Tree. (Image Credit: James R. Bouldin, Wikipedia)

Today, to protect the trees from the inquisitive traveler, the authorities are keeping their location secret (indeed, there are no photos identifying Methuselah for fear of vandalism).

1. Baobab

The amazing baobab or monkey bread tree can grow up to nearly 100 feet (30 m) tall and 35 feet (11 m) wide. Their defining characteristic: their swollen trunk are actually water storage - the baobab tree can store as much as 31,700 gallon (120,000 l) of water to endure harsh drought conditions.

Baobab trees are native to Madagascar (it’s the country’s national tree!), mainland Africa, and Australia. A cluster of "the grandest of all" baobab trees can be found in the Baobab Avenue, near Morondava, in Madagascar:

Baobab Avenue
(Image credit: Fox-Talbot, Wikipedia)

Baobab
(Image credit: plizzba [flickr])

Baobab at sunset
(Image credit: Daniel Montesino [flickr])

In Ifaty, southwestern Madagascar, other baobabs take the form of bottles, skulls, and even teapots:

Teapot baobab
Teapot baobab (Image credit: Gilles Croissant)

7 comments:

Paul said...

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

Trees

I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Fernando M. Faci said...

Another great tree is the Drago canario from "Icod de los vinos" in de Canarian islands.

This Drago is 1000 year old

Here a link:
http://www.rubens51.net/drago_canario.htm

Fernando Faci

Dan said...

For another list of Magnificent trees check out this link...

http://ten-thousand-trees.blogspot.com/2008/06/12-most-magnificent-trees-in-world.html

Anonymous said...

wow what a brilliantly inspiring site!

Si-ence said...

Great blog entry :) I love the pictures.

I like Paul's poem too, though I fancy reading 'God' in the pantheistic sense.

Footsteps NZ-TZ said...

I wanted to see your pic of the Baobab (Mbuyu in Swahili) then became interested in the other pics. From and old tree fella point of view you have chosen so goodies.

vacantexpressions said...

you forgot the Joshua Tree!!!! One place in the world I think.

Raydizzl