Tree Facts
Tree Facts

26 Life-giving Tree Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published March 8, 2020

What is the oldest tree in the world? What is the biggest tree? Explore the beautiful and surprising world of trees here. Learn all about tree parts and functions, ecology, uses, and their place in mythology and folklore.

  • Trees are the largest plants in existence. While fungi and plants were once classified together, scientists now classify plants and fungi differently.[4]
  • Trees are phanerogams, which means they reproduce by seeds, and, therefore, they have specialized, visible organs of reproduction, namely flowers.[8]
  • While trees and bushes are both woody plants, they are different. Bushes, which are typically smaller than trees, branch out from the ground and do not form a single trunk as trees do.[4]
  • Bark of trees that grow in the shade is often thin, while bark of trees that grow in sunny places is thicker.[4]
  • Trees that grow in humid places or near large bodies of water have broad, big leaves. Trees that grow in dry environments have small, hard leaves, which reduce water loss.[4]
  • cottonwood seed facts
    Fluffy cottonwood seeds are a sign that pollination for the cottonwood is over; cottonwoods affect allergy sufferers BEFORE the spreading of all that fluffy cotton
  • Cottonwood seeds are able to stay airborne for days, which is much longer than any other type of seed.[4]
  • The most poisonous tree in the world is the manchineel tree, which is native to Florida. If eaten, its fruit can kill a person. Additionally, standing under the tree during a rainstorm can cause blisters, and the smoke from a burning tree can blind you.[10]
  • In 2012, Florida meth-addict Sarah Barnes accidentally burned down the world's fifth-oldest tree when she tried to smoke in the hollow of the tree. Named Senator, the ancient tree was 3,500 years old.[1]
  • In 1987, Mr. T inexplicably cut down more than 100 oak trees on his estate in Lake Forest, Illinois. The incident angered his neighbors, and it is now known as the Lake Forest Chainsaw Massacre.[3]
  • A bristlecone pine tree nicknamed Methuselah is believed to be the oldest tree in the world. Its exact location is kept a secret to protect it from vandals and tourists.[9]
  • I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

    - Joyce Kilmer

  • The world's oldest clonal tree cluster is found in Utah, USA. DNA testing has revealed that a group of quaking aspens named Pando is about 80,000 years old. It's estimated weight is thought to be over 6,000 tons, making it not only the world's oldest living entity, but also the world's heaviest.[9]
  • In the Indonesian Tana Toraja tribe, babies who die before they start teething are buried in the hollow of a living tree. As the tree grows, it absorbs the child. Dozens of babies may be interred in a single tree. The tribes people believe that the tree will waft away their souls.[13]
  • Because of their ability to adapt to most environments, oaks are considered the “king of trees” and represent wisdom, strength, and loyalty.[4]
  • Fun Oak Tree Facts
    Oak trees appeared on Earth about 65 million years ago

  • In 1938, Nazis planted a swastika forest of larch trees in northeastern Germany to commemorate Adolf Hitler's birthday. In the spring and fall, the bright leaves of the larch trees contrast with the dark green of surrounding pine forest, revealing the swastika.[12]
  • In terms of volume, a giant sequoia named General Sherman is the world's largest tree and may be the world's largest living thing. At 52,508 cubic feet, General Sherman is located in California's Sequoia National Park.[9]
  • At 380 feet tall, a coast redwood named Hyperion is the world's tallest tree. Its location is a secret, due to concerns over vandalism. The second tallest tree in the world is a 331-foot-tall eucalyptus tree named The Centurion, located in Tasmania.[9]
  • Ancient pagan cultures, such as the Celts, believed that benevolent and helpful spirits lived in trees. Knocking on tree trunks roused a spirit for protection, which led to the saying "knock on wood."[6]
  • Fun Tree Myths
    We believe

  • At an astounding 38 feet in diameter, the tree with the widest girth in the world is the Arbol del Tule, a Montezuma cypress located in Mexico.[9]
  • A tree planted in 288 BC in India is believed to have been propagated from Buddha's original fig tree. Aptly named Ficus religiosa, this tree is considered to be one of the most sacred trees in the world.[9]
  • The sandbox tree is covered in spikes, contains toxic sap, and has exploding fruit. Nicknamed the "Dynamite Tree," its fruit explodes when ripe, sending hardened seeds over a 60-foot radius at 150 miles per hour.[11]
  • There are are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, or about 422 for each person.[2]
  • Since the start of human civilization, about 11,700 years ago, the total number of trees on Earth has fallen by around 46%.[2]
  • Palm Tree Facts
    Palms are not trees; they are large, woody herbs
  • According to the botanical definition, palms are not trees but large, woody herbs.[7]
  • About 15 billion trees are lost each year due to deforestation, forest management, and changes in land use.[2]
  • A group of 400 trees in Poland's Krzywy Las, or "Crooked Forest," are mysteriously and identically bent. The J-shaped trunks remain a mystery to this day. Because every tree is bent in a similar way, scientists believe they all suffered from the same trauma when they were young.[5]
  • Some trees seem to have the ability to talk to each other. For example, when willows are attacked by webworms, they release certain chemicals. Other willows then produce more tannin, which makes their leaves more difficult for pests to digest.[4]

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