Tag Archives: Trees

Five Types of Trees that Have Our Attention

Summer is here, and now it’s time to finally stop marveling at the blooming trees and hide underneath them for some valuable shade. It’s easy to forget just how many unique and interesting tree species are scattered across the world, but luckily we came up with a list of just five that’ll have you planning a tree-touring trip around the world.

1. Baobab Trees, Madagascar

A huge, misshapen Baobab Tree.

Try wrapping your arms around these interestingly shaped giants. [Image: http://gardenofeaden.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-to-grow-baobab-tree-from-seed.html]

Baobob Trees are known by many names (Upside Down Trees, Bottle Trees, and Monkey Bread Trees to name a few) due to their distinctive, mostly leafless appearance. Most of these trees can be found in Madagascar, but certain species appear in Australia and Africa as well. They come in handy for both humans and animals in the unbearable savannah heat, and the thick tree bark is fire resistant and great for making cloth or rope. These fascinating trees are thought to have long lives, and rumor has it that there’s one in South Africa that’s over 6,000 years old!

2. Cannonball Trees, Sri Lanka

Cannonball-like fruits hanging from a tree trunk.

Look out, above! You don’t want to get knocked on the head by these heavy fruits. [Image: http://timdeanblog.com/2013/04/27/trees/]

The nickname Cannonball Tree makes sense once you see the large, round fruits hanging off its trunks. Don’t get too close, though, because they live up to their name, and a falling fruit could lead to lots of pain! Often found in Central and South American rainforests, these trees are an exquisite sight. If you can tolerate the horrible smell, the fruits are edible, too.

3. Dragon Blood Trees, Yemen

Umbrella-shaped trees.

The Dragon Blood Trees’ shape make them the perfect place to hide from the sun. [Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/neslab/8288058514]

Native to the Socotra archipelago in Yemen, the rare and distinct Dragon Blood Trees have an even more interesting characteristic underneath their bark. Once cut, the trees appear to bleed by releasing a red resin commonly used in medicines and dyes. Unfortunately many populations of this tree are struggling because of poor regeneration and increased tourism and overdevelopment.

4. Rainbow Eucalyptus, Hawaii

Colorful tree bark.

No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you—these trees ARE rainbow! [Image: http://www.lovethesepics.com/2013/01/living-rainbow-rainbow-eucalyptus-most-beautiful-tree-bark-on-earth-36-pics/]

Streaked in color and looking almost like part of an art project, the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees are a gorgeous, tropical sight. They naturally occur in the Northern Hemisphere and can be found in tree plantations around the world as well.

5. Windswept Trees, New Zealand

Trees bent to the side because of drastic winds.

The only other living creatures you’ll see by these trees are probably sheep! [Image: http://www.placestoseeinyourlifetime.com/windswept-trees-in-the-brute-slope-point-new-zealand-5300/]

Some pretty intense, Antarctic winds relentlessly hit Slope Point in New Zealand, leading to its breathtaking Windswept Trees. Aside from these drastically bent trees, the only other living creatures in its proximity are herding sheep.

Don’t just take it from us, though—discover some of these majestic beauties on your own! Download our Pocket Ranger® State Parks Apps and National Park Passport Guide App to find some rare and remarkable trees near you.

Poems for Summer

Whenever a new season comes along we like to celebrate with poems (winter and spring). If you haven’t had the time to peek out your window yet— summer is here! To liven up the first days, we invite you to read our poems for summer, and bask in the images.

Image: www.noelalva.com

Image: www.noelalva.com

Reverie in Open Air
By Rita Dove

I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
Inappropriate clothes, odd habits
Out of sync with wasp and wren.
I admit I don’t know how
To sit still or move without purpose.
I prefer books to moonlight, statuary to trees.

But this lawn has been leveled for looking,
So I kick off my sandals and walk its cool green.
Who claims we’re mere muscle and fluids?
My feet are the primitives here.
As for the rest—ah, the air now
Is a tonic of absence, bearing nothing
But news of a breeze.

Image: www. etherealplant.tumblr.com/post/118795783134

Image: www. etherealplant.tumblr.com/post/118795783134

Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
Darcy Cummings

One summer afternoon, I learned my body
like a blind child leaving a walled
school for the first time, stumbling
from cool hallways to a world
dense with scent and sound,
pines roaring in the sudden wind
like a huge chorus of insects.
I felt the damp socket of flowers,
touched weeds riding the crest
of a stony ridge, and the scrubby
ground cover on low hills.
Haystacks began to burn,
smoke rose like sheets of
translucent mica. The thick air
hummed over the stretched wires
of wheat as I lay in the overgrown field
listening to the shrieks of small rabbits
bounding beneath my skin.

My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer
Mark Strand

When the moon appears
and a few wind-stricken barns stand out
in the low-domed hills
and shine with a light
that is veiled and dust-filled
and that floats upon the fields,
my mother, with her hair in a bun,
her face in shadow, and the smoke
from her cigarette coiling close
to the faint yellow sheen of her dress,
stands near the house
and watches the seepage of late light
down through the sedges,
the last gray islands of cloud
taken from view, and the wind
ruffling the moon’s ash-colored coat
on the black bay.

Image: www.pinterest.com/pin/258957047293303545/

Image: www.pinterest.com/pin/258957047293303545/

Tropical Courtyard
Joe Bolton

It is a rage against geometry:
The spiked fans of the palmetto arcing
Like improvised brushstrokes in the light breeze;
Like shadowplay, somewhere a dog barking.

Against the height of new and old brick walls,
Confounding stone, transplanted pine and palm
Lift in imperfection, as heavy bells
That would force order fade into the calm

Of azure and a faint scent of musk.
(Is it eucalyptus or just the past?)
There’s nothing in this warm, vegetal dusk
That is not beautiful or that will last.

Five Movies with Amazing Trees

Spring is here, in case you haven’t noticed and aren’t sick of us saying it yet. We can’t help it, though—we’re just so happy to be able to walk outside without a jacket hunkering us down! All the blooming trees are a true testament to the fact that the warm weather is here to stay. Pollen is flying through the air, flowers and leaves are blooming, and looking out your office window has become overall a lot prettier. To pay a tribute to the blooming trees, we came up with a list of just five of the many amazing trees featured in movies.

Pocahontas, 1995

Grandmother Willow, an ancient and wise willow tree, offering advice to Pocahontas.

Grandmother Willow [Image: www.flickr.com/photos/70202070@N08/9353466174]

This one is pretty obvious, unless you somehow haven’t seen this classic Disney film. The movie may not be historically accurate, but it features the charming and endearing support of Grandmother Willow, which almost makes up for that. As Pocahontas deals with the Jamestown settlers arriving and slowly destroying her home as well as her conflicted feelings for John Smith, Grandmother Willow is there to offer her advice. Grandmother Willow is a gigantic, ancient, and wise weeping willow tree that is consulted as a spiritual adviser and has filled in as Pocahontas’ mother in a way. She’s a fantastic figure to have on your side (other than Pocahontas’ adorable animal friends, of course)!

FernGully: The Last Rainforest, 1992

A tall, twisted tree.

Hexxus [Image: www.pinterest.com/pin/55943220346341457/]

FernGully: The Last Rainforest is an animated Australian-American environmental film, which is the kind of film that’s right up our alley! A curious young fairy named Crysta works to save her rainforest home from the lumberjacks and the evil Hexxus who gains strength from pollution. With the assistance of a lumberjack, Zak, who she shrinks down to her size, she rallies the fairies and animals of the rainforest to protect the trees. The fantastic twisted tree from this movie is actually Hexxus who becomes sealed inside, similar to how he started off the movie.

Avatar, 2009

Giant animated trees and vines.

Hometree [Image: james-camerons-avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Hometree]

In this astounding sci-fi film, humans encounter aliens (Na’vi) on their moon planet Pandora when they try to mine it for unobtanium after depleting all of Earth’s natural resources. The humans have figured out a procedure to give themselves the Na’vi genes, calling their hybrid bodies avatars. There is a group of scientists studying the biology of the Na’vi and one military man, Jake, eventually falls in love and becomes initiated into the Na’vi’s tribe. After he learns about their ways of life, he discovers that the Hometree where they live and garner their energy lies on the largest deposit of unobtanium in the area. He has to work with the Na’vi and other avatars to fight off his human cohorts and ensure that the tree remains intact. It’s quite a mouthful to describe, but then again, it’s also quite a film!

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002

A giant walking, talking tree creature speaking to two humans.

Treebeard, the oldest and wisest Ent [Image: www.pinterest.com/pin/414612709420448249/]

The wildly intricate world that J.R.R. Tolkien created through his Lord of the Rings series is complicated, amusing, and overall just a breathtaking and fascinating place. It only makes sense that in the world Tolkien created, there would be walking, talking trees. These Ents are a wise, ancient group that was created to protect the forests from any potential threats. Treebeard, the oldest and wisest of the Ents, brings a few of his group to assist in the war that is waging. These are the kinds of trees you’d want on your side, too.

Harry Potter Series, 2001-2011

A twisted, gnarled old tree on a cliff in front of a castle.

The Whomping Willow [Image: www.geekynews.com/harry-potter-alliance-promotes-whomping-willow-to-executive-director-97681/]

The Whomping Willow makes its appearance throughout the Harry Potter series where it is an intense obstacle that Harry and his friends must overcome to complete their various challenges. It sits on top of a secret passage and reacts to intruders by trying to beat them away from its vicinity. Don’t worry, it probably doesn’t want to hurt anyone intentionally—it’s just hexed to be that way!

There are tons of movies that have amazing trees, but nothing can beat the real thing (even if Ents are pretty darn cool). Check out our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps so you can head to a state park near you and see the real deal!

Wild, Old, and Beautiful Trees

There’s nothing that nature cannot cure. Vast landscapes, rolling hills, and tall mountains soothe the mind, and bring new thoughts to the surface. What’s more exciting is discovering wild, old, and beautiful trees! If you’ve seen one, you know it’s not a sight to miss. They stand tall with their branches reaching out, their century-old roots spreading out endlessly. Some are considered rare due to age, stature, width, or just being a good-old natural wonder. Find out where these beautiful trees live, hide and reign over their kingdom.

General Sherman, Sequoia

Found within Sequoia National Park, California, General Sherman is the largest living single-stem tree in the world, measuring 274.9 feet, and believed to be around 2,500 years old.  Another similar tree is General Grantthe third largest tree in the world at 267.4 feet, found in Kings Canyon National Park, California. The name was take from Union Army general and 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant. Giant Sequoias are one the oldest living things on Earth. They are fibrous and thick at the base of the trunk, making for superior fire protection. Their leaves are evergreen, awl-shaped, and arranged spirally on the shoots.

Two people hugging General Sherman in California, a beautiful tree.

General Sherman receiving two hugs. [www.2.bp.blogspot.com]

Hyperion, Coast Redwood

Standing at 379.1 feet, Hyperion is by far the tallest tree, based on height, and found in a remote area of Redwood National and State Parks. It’s so tall, it trumps over the Statue of Liberty and England’s Big Ben clock! The tree was discovered in August 25, 2006, by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. If you’re dying to make the trek, know that the location is kept secret to protect the tree. Many hikers have tried, but few have seen it. The same secrecy follows the Lost Monarch, measuring 320 feet. The Lost Monarch is the largest coast redwood in volume size. It lives in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park‘s Grove of Titans among other giant redwoods, including the Screaming Titans and El Viejo Del Norte. The coast redwood has a conical crown, with horizontal to slightly drooping branches. The bark is thick, up to 1 foot, soft and fibrous, with a bright red-brown color when freshly exposed (hence the name redwood), and weathering darker. The root system is made up of shallow, wide-spreading lateral roots.

Beautiful trees of Hyperion, Coast Redwood at a distance

Hyperion, Coast Redwood [Image: www.scinotions.com]

Quinault, Western Red Cedar

The Quinault Red Cedar is the largest of its kind, measuring 174 feet tall with a diameter of 19.5 feet. It lies in the northwest shore of Lake Quinault, north of Aberdeen, Washington, at the southern edge of Olympic National Park. Though its age is not certain, some individuals live over a thousand years, with the oldest discovered to be 1,460 years. Usually trees in dense areas will have a crown on top where light is abundant, but in open areas the crown will reach the ground. The foliage consists of flat sprays with scaly leaves going in opposite pairs. When the foliage sprays are crushed, there’s a strong scent reminiscent of pineapple.

the top of the Quinault Lake Red Cedar

Quinault Lake Red Cedar [Image: www.flickr.com/photos/mallady/4477638737/]

Bennett, Western Juniper

The 8,500-foot-tall Bennett, located in Stanislaus National Forest, California is considered the oldest and largest example of a western juniper tree, possibly 3,000 to 6,000 years old. The western juniper is native to the western United States, typically reaching 50 to 70 feet. Its red, fibrous bark is similar to a coastal redwood, and the gnarled branches have lichen on top and reach out to small, shrub-like green leaves. It’s named after the naturalist Clarence Bennett, who began studying the species in the early 1890s. During his initial research from Oregon to Mexico, he mostly found 1,000-year-old tree core samplings, until a Tuolumne County rancher showed him a large western juniper. This wrinkled and knotted tree was Bennett the Western Juniper, measuring 80 feet tall. For centuries it has suffered through droughts, harsh winters, and lightning strikes, but it is still standing today. The last known measurement was taken in 1983; at that time, Bennett was 86 feet in height with a 58-foot crown spread.

A person standing next to Bennett Juniper in  California.

Bennett Western Juniper [Image: www.conifers.org]

Seven Sisters Oak

You’re not in a fairytale; this is a real tree in a place not so far away. The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree. It’s located in Mandeville, Louisiana, and is estimated to be 1,500 years old with a trunk that measures 38 feet, a crown spread of 139 feet, and a height of 68 feet. Not that it would be hard spotting this giant beauty, but live oak trees have stiff and leathery flat leaves with shiny dark green tops and dull gray bottoms. This tree was originally named the Doby’s Seven Sisters Oak tree by one of the former owners, Carole Hendry Doby, who is one of seven sisters. Coincidentally, there are seven sets of branches leading away from the center trunk.

Seven Sister Oak in Louisiana.

Seven Sisters Oak in Louisiana [Image: www.lgcfinc.org]

The Angel Oak

This beautiful, yet eerie oak tree resides in Johns Island, South Carolina, and believed to be 400 to 1,400 years old. This is the tree of dreams and hideaways. What’s most impressive about the Angel Oak is not its height, but its wide canopy. Their limbs are heavy, almost like tree trunks; they rest on the ground. The area of shade measures 17,000 square feet. The Angel Oak is a native species found throughout the Lowcountry (Coastal Carolina). Surprisingly the name does not come from its characteristic massive, draping limbs and spreading wide canopy, but rather from the tree’s previous owners, Martha and Justin Angel.

Angel Oak on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina.

Angel Oak in South Carolina [Image: www.joanperry.smugmug.com]

Methuselah, Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

Methuselah is a 4,846 year-old bristlecone pine found in the White Mountains of Inyo National Forest. To put it into perspective, it germinated during the invention of writing by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. Methuselah’s exact location is kept secret for fear of vandalism, but there’s a whole trail of ancient bristlecone pines in the White Mountains waiting for you. So, the title of the oldest known living non-clonal organism on Earth goes to Methuselah? Not just yet. In 2012, an older bristlecone pine of 5,064 years old was found in the area, and in the same fashion, its location is kept secret.

Ancient Bristlecone [Image: www.historylines.net]

Ancient Bristlecone [Image: www.historylines.net]

Pando, Quaking Aspen

Utah’s Fishlake National Forest is home to an ancient clonal colony of quaking aspen. This 105-acre colony is made up of genetically identical trees, called stems, connected by one root system, known as Pando. Pando is the heaviest and oldest living organism at approximately 80,000 years old and weighing six million kilograms! The aspens have smooth bark, mostly greenish-white to gray, and are marked by thick black horizontal scars and obvious black knots. If you see parallel vertical scars it means elk have stripped off the aspen bark using their front teeth.

Quaking Aspen in Utah [Image: [www.ravishly.com]

Quaking Aspen in Utah [Image: www.ravishly.com]

To find more rare and natural wonders, download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps for a park near you.