March 18, 2022

Five Unique Trees Around the World

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Sometimes, it is the aesthetics of the natural world that draw us outside. Have you come across a unique tree in your experience while walking in your neighborhood? Or perhaps you came across a tree that you admired while traveling. All trees are unique in their own way, but there are some really unique ones around the world. Let’s travel around the world to five unique types of trees. 

The Tree of Forty Fruits in New York

A few years ago, Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken  decided to create a living piece of art. Using the technique known as chip grafting, Van Aken began the process of creating a tree bearing forty different kinds of stone fruit including plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines. Van Aken is using the tree as a conservation message to spread awareness that decisions around agriculture have led to less diverse representation of the kinds of fruits in our markets. 

In the spring, the Tree of Forty Fruit then begins to bloom, showing its variety of colors, all sections indicating what stone fruit it bears. His first Tree of Forty Fruits remains in New York, but he has created other similar trees in other eastern states not exclusively to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maine.

Methuselah: A Bristlecone Pine in California

What makes this tree so special is it is quite an old tree - approximately almost 5,000 years old to be exact. Currently, it is one of the oldest bristlecone pines on earth and its name Methuselah has roots in the biblical Methuselah who supposedly lived nearly a millennium. 

You can tell Methuselah is a bristlecone pine by its appearance. A bristlecone pine’s unique thick and twisted trunk makes them look like a sturdy tree. This tree species is because it can withstand surviving off less water than other trees. Bristlecone pines can endure arid-like climates which is why you will see them in states like Utah, Nevada, or California.  

Dragon Blood Tree on the Island of Socotra in Yemen

Dragon blood trees, also known as dracaena cinnabari, are not like any trees seen here in Utah because they are endemic to the island of Socotra in Yemen. Their unusual appearance is often from the branches collectively forming what looks like an upturned umbrella. Only able to thrive in the conditions on the island, taking measures to conserve them right now is so important. As with many trees, environmental factors such as climate change are affecting these trees and these trees hold cultural importance to the people on the island. The tree’s resin can be used for natural healing practices. Dragon blood trees get their name from this ‘blood’ resin that is a byproduct from the tree’s bark.  

DeadVlei Trees in Namibia

Around 900 years ago, the earth experienced what is called the Medieval Warm Period. An anomaly in the patterns for climatic changes, certain parts of the earth are proposed to have experienced an unusually warmer climate.

What is now known as Namibia in Southern Africa was a location that could have been impacted by this anomaly. The new climate from the Medieval Warm Period changed the landscape and these trees could not acclimate nor could these conditions allow for the trees to properly break down into detritus. The trees now serve as relics to the past and a tool to increase our understanding of the past climate.

Ginkgo Tree in China

The ginkgo tree originates in China, but is well suited to a variety of conditions and has fared well in urban environments. 

When a female ginkgo tree sheds its seeds, it can emit an unpleasant odor in the near vicinity, but the tree’s color in the fall is a beautiful bright yellow that will make up for the smell. 

Historically, ginkgo trees like the DeadVlei trees in Namibia are evidence rich in our long climatic history. Gingko trees have been recorded to be dated back more than 200 million years before the dinosaurs became extinct. Dinosaurs became extinct roughly 66 million years ago. These ginkgo trees have lived through quite a lot.