Nature has built a brilliant ecosystem where plants and animals depend on each other. However, the total amount of forests on our planet is decreasing year by year. Many initiatives have been taken to raise awareness and increase the forest area. Yet, they are falling short against the constant destruction of forest lands.
People around the world celebrate multiple days like the “International Day of Forests” or “World Environment Day” to become more aware. Even numerous people have taken the initiative to turn their living areas into thriving forests. However, we need more people to take up such activities.
We appreciate all the excellent initiatives taken to plant trees and preserve our ecosystem. We dedicate this article to share a few interesting facts about trees to encourage and sustain such spirits throughout the year.
20 Important and Interesting Facts about Trees
1. The Oldest Tree Fossil Found is More than 380 Years Old
The earliest tree-like plants found in nature as fossils are from the Carboniferous period. During this period, amphibian species were the dominant land creatures.
Lycophytes and tree ferns were the early tree-like species. A prehistoric tree genus named Wattieza is considered the first true tree that is currently extinct. It is believed that early trees have fronds instead of leaves and are reproduced using spores.
In 2007 a tree fossil was discovered in New York State, believed to be the Wattieza. By carbon dating, it is found that the fossils are around 385 million years old.
2. A Jurassic Period Tree Still Exists Today in Australia
During the Jurassic Period, several trees were extinct, along with dinosaurs. Among them, Wollemia was one, and researchers knew about this plant from fossils.
However, back in 1994, in a temperate rainforest at Australia’s Wollemia National Park, a few survivors of the Wollemia were found.
Wollmia nobilis are now considered living fossils, and only 80 mature trees are left on our earth, with roughly 300 juveniles and seedlings. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed this species as critically endangered.
Additionally, the Ginkgo tree dates back about 200 million years, considered a middle Mesozoic tree. It has got the title of “the most ancient living tree.”
3. Trees Can Help You Find Direction in Forests
Getting lost in the woods is one of the common scenarios in several movies. However, if you know this trick, you will never get lost in the woods. Also, you don’t have to climb a big tree to determine the direction.
So, Moss grows on the shadier parts of the tree. The tree’s north side receives the least sunlight in the northern hemisphere. If you lost your way in the forest, look for the most moss growth on tree sides. That side is an indicator of the northern direction. The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere.
If you happen to find a tree stump, you can determine the direction more easily. As in the northern hemisphere, the southern side gets the most sunlight, and the tree rings in the southern direction are slightly thicker than in the northern direction. For the southern hemisphere, the thicker part of the tree ring will indicate the north direction.
4. Trees Utilize the Most Interesting Survival Instincts
Although trees are stationary lives, they are not helpless. They utilize several survival instincts to thrive in nature.
You will see that most trees grow towards the sun to receive maximum light. Also, they store food and seeds exceptionally to help them grow and reproduce. Also, there are other interesting instincts.
Some trees can reproduce chemicals to combat different insects in their surroundings. Additionally, they can send airborne chemical signals to alert other similar trees in the area. Therefore, other trees in the area get prepared to combat those insects and become more resistant.
Some trees can even summon other living beings as well. Some trees can summon parasites and predators as their defense mechanism. Studies have shown that apple trees under caterpillar attacks can send chemical signals to attract caterpillar-eating birds.
5. Trees Can Share Nutrients with One Another
Most plants have symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi, living on tree roots. These fungi gather food from tree roots and help trees to absorb additional nutrients and water.
Additionally, these fungi link each tree to the nearby ones and create a huge-scale communication platform for trees underground. This platform helps trees communicate with each other to protect themselves and their seedlings.
Also, trees have lived on earth for a very long time. They can restore memories from past decades or centuries as they change very slowly. All these memories are encoded in their DNA and passed to their offspring. Therefore, trees can protect themselves in varying climates.
6. Tree Roots Change to Survive in Hostile Environments
Tree roots often lie in the top 18 inches of soil. However shallow depth roots are in, it may not compromise their lateral growth. If necessary, tree roots can also change to cope with hostile environments.
For example, some trees will produce hanging roots from branches to support their overground mass. Trees beside the sea shore often produce support roots to protect them against storms. Some tree roots can also store food and water. Also, some trees can survive with little water due to their root mutation.
7. Trees are Crucial for Human Survival
Humans are highly dependent on trees for survival. Trees provide humans with oxygen, food, clothes, shelter, and even medicine for illnesses. Also, trees protect the environment from natural calamities like storms and droughts.
Trees can greatly help in reducing pollution from urban areas without spending much. Naturally, trees absorb carbon-di-oxide from nature to prepare their food. Therefore, the more trees are planted in a polluted area, the trees will absorb more carbon dioxide. Thus, pollution can be reduced significantly.
8. Trees Highly Influence the Ecosystem of an Area
Trees are a vital element for an ecosystem to keep the system balanced. Without trees, the natural habitats of numerous insects, animals, and plant-based organisms disappear. Therefore, the whole environment will see a significant shift and can be unsuitable for living.
A study has found that adding a single tree to a pasture can increase the number of bird species from near zero to eighty. Other than birds, squirrels, bats, bees, fireflies, and many other animals and insects can thrive in the green area and help the whole environment thrive.
9. Crime Rate and Stress Significantly Reduced with the Help of Trees
Biophilia is embedded into the DNA of humans. Therefore, one can feel less stressed simply by looking at trees. Additionally, trees release phytoncides chemicals that help humans reduce stress simply by exposure to them.
Several researchers have conducted studies that show that the crime rate is exceptionally low in tree-embedded areas. The U.S. Forest Service has claimed that property value can rise on average 10% if the property is landscaped with mature and healthy trees.
10. Some Trees Have Become World Famous
As we mentioned earlier, some trees have been thriving for ages. Some of them have become the centerpiece of curiosity and gained a lot of attention.
Nearly 58% of tree species naturally occur within the borders of a single nation. They may not be found on other continents and even cannot survive in the environment of other places. Thus, people travel huge distances to marvel at those wonderful trees.
For example, a Pando aspen grove in Utah has been living for 80,000 years. Also, a coast redwood tree in the Redwood National State Parks, Northern California, has grown 379 ft. tall. The tree was named Hyperion and still stands tall in an undisclosed area.
Other than Hyperion, Washington’s Japanese Fire Tree, South Carolina’s Angel Oak Tree, and Scotland’s Birnam Oak tree also share similar interests from people worldwide.
11. Other Than Fruits, Coffee and Chocolates Come from Trees
Fruits from trees offer significant nutritional benefits and delight to our taste buds. However, trees offer thousands of products to make our lives easier.
Most delicious chocolates are produced from the ingredients found in cocoa trees. Also, coffee trees offer coffee beans to be transformed into coffee. Tea is also produced from tea tree leaves. All three of these products play crucial roles in our day-to-day lives.
Other than that, we get coconuts, edible nuts, and many other delicious products from trees.
12. Trees Reproduce in Several Ways
Reproduction is an important part of the life cycle of plants. Trees utilize several different ways to spread their seeds throughout continents.
Coconut seeds can travel hundreds of miles in the sea without getting damaged. Some trees throw their seeds far away to help seedlings grow properly. Other than that, animals, wind, and even humans can help spread tree seeds in faraway places to help them grow and adopt new environments.
13. Trees Help us Breath
Every living thing breathes oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from its body to live. However, only trees can produce oxygen in their body and release it in nature to maintain equilibrium.
The majority of oxygen in the air is produced by phytoplankton. Additionally, a mature leafy tree can produce enough oxygen for a maximum of ten people depending on its size. Moreover, trees gather toxic carbon dioxide and break them into oxygen to clarify the air in the atmosphere. Thus, the air is purified, and animals and humans can breathe without any discomfort.
14. The First Trees were Leafless
Nowadays, imagining a tree without leaves is nearly impossible. However, the ancestors of modern-day trees were leafless.
The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, while trees appeared only 470 million years ago. Around 420 million years ago, the Earth was home to 26 feet-tall giant Fungi.
As the first tree appeared, they were not much taller. Those trees mutated to have stronger trunks to stay upright and a composed vascular system to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the branches.
However, those trees didn’t have well-formed leaves. Instead, frond-like branches and branchlets helped them produce food. These trees used to uphold a resemblance to bottlebrushes and reproduced using spores.
15. Tree Diversity Depends upon Geology and Weather
Depending on the placement of the land on the Earth and the weather conditions, we can see many variations of trees in different places.
For example, trees in deserts may not grow taller. However, their roots can reach deeper into the ground to gather water. Trees near sea shores have a high tolerance for salt and can resist storms.
In a nutshell, trees utilize several mutations to help them withstand hostile environments and thrive in such conditions.
16. Christmas Trees were Invented in Germany
Decorating Christmas trees during the holiday seasons has become a popular tradition. However, the origin of this tradition is still not fully understood.
Historians agree that the first Christmas trees were decorated in early modern Germany. Some historians also believe that famous protestant reformer Martin Luther King was the first person to use candles to decorate Christmas trees.
However, decorating evergreen trees goes way back in history. Ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrew cultures also consider evergreen trees as the symbol of eternal life.
17. During Stromes, Trees Become Lightning Rods
The tallest trees often get struck by lightning during storms. This is because trees are negatively charged while lightning contains positive charges. When lightning strikes, it searches for the path with minimal resistance. Thus, taller trees are often hit by lightning.
During strokes, avoid taking shelter under trees. If lightning strikes the tree, you can get fried from inside along with the tree.
18. Trees Can Swallow Metal Structures
Although trees seem weak and vulnerable at their early stages, they can grow stronger and even corrode metals with time.
There are several incidents where trees swallow metal structures as they grow. Back in 1954, a boy hid his bike in the woods. 50 years later, that bike was found 5 feet up in the air, embedded into a tree trunk.
Other than bikes, some other trees are also known for swallowing iron tools, even anchors.
19. The Amazon Rainforest: The Lungs of the Earth
The Amazon Rainforest produces 80% of the Earth’s total oxygen. Thus, this forest is called the lung of our planet.
To this date, at least 40,000 plant species and over 2600 animal species, including birds, fishes, amphibians, and mammals, live in the Amazon. In recent years, there have been severe forest fires in this rainforest which hampered the natural life of this forest.
20. Mangrove Forests are a Huge Wonder of Nature
Most trees can get damaged due to high concentrations of salt in the water. However, mangrove trees have mutated accordingly to survive such hostile conditions.
Mangrove tree roots can filter salt to deliver fresh water to other parts of the tree. Some trees also reserve rainwater in their leaves to use later. Also, some mangrove tree roots can shift position to respirate properly during high tides.
The largest mangrove forest is situated in Bangladesh. Over 639 species of wildlife call this forest their home.
To survive in nature, the importance of plants cannot be mentioned enough. The whole ecosystem depends on plants for numerous reasons. When one tree is hampered, a huge section of nature suffers loss.
As the most intelligent species of our time, we should be more careful to preserve trees. Also, planting trees and expanding forest areas should be a priority for us. Only then can we live harmoniously with nature.
If you’re concerned about tree care and management, our experienced arborists can help you with tree care needs, starting from trimming and pruning to removal and stump grinding. Contact us today for a free consultation!