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Nature Travel

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees

The Grandidier’s Baobabs (Palmate adansonia) are giant trees indigenous to Africa, predominantly on Madagascar’s beautiful island.

Baobabs can live up to 800 to 1000 years with their unique ability to act as a water storage tank—the tree stores up to 1000 to 120,000 liters of water in their thick trunks. Both the animals and locals tap the trees for H20 during the dry season.

At the heart of many African remedies and folklore, the iconic Baobab is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.”

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees
Photo: Beth Moon

The 80-plus foot trees have a circumference of 108 feet. They also feature on a 250-meter path called the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar’s Menabe region. The tree is famous for producing surreal white, bat-pollinated flowers as well.

“A Caliban of a tree, grizzled, distorted old goblin with the girth of a giant, the hide of a rhinoceros, twiggy fingers clutching at empty air and the disposition of a guardian angel,” once wrote the novelist Ernestine Hill about the Baobab’s immensity.

Unfortunately, the baobab trees are at risk of extinction due to climate change with more than ten thousand disappearing each year.

Categories
Nature

Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing

There are certain tree species in the forest that resist touching each other as they grow, a natural phenomenon known as crown shyness.

There is more than one theory why the social distancing amongst the trees occurs.

Scientists suggest that the gaps in the treetops are intended to increase light reception for the leaves. Preventing overlapping canopies also reduces the spread of disease and wards off leaf-eating harmful insects.

The collaborative effort to avoid touching the foliage of its neighbor ensures the safety and survival of all nearby trees. Talk about respecting one’s personal space!

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Categories
Nature Travel

Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera

The tallest palm tree in the world resides in the Colombian Andes in Los Nevados National Park, amid the Cocora Valley.

Colombia’s national tree, the palma de cera or wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense), stands up to nearly 200 feet tall.

But seeing it is no easy trek — hikers have to walk through a cloud forest that extends six-miles long.

Hosting some of the planet’s most diverse wildlife and surreal landscapes, it’s no wonder that the Cocora Valley reminds people of a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Reaching up into the sky and nearly touching the clouds, the wax palms create a marvelous paradise.

Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera
via Twitter
Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera
Photo: Instagram/zoophotomaker
Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera
Photo: Alex Treadway
Categories
Animals Nature

Spiderweb-engulfed trees in Pakistan after a great flood

In July 2010, 10 years of rain fell into parts of Pakistan that left millions of people (and spiders) homeless.

As a survival mechanism, spiders took homage and blanketed some of the trees.

What resulted were cotton-candy, ghost-like cocooned trees that protected the locals against a rash of mosquitoes.

Spiderweb-engulfed trees in Pakistan after a great flood
Spiderweb-engulfed trees in Pakistan after a great flood
Spiderweb-engulfed trees in Pakistan after a great flood

Photos by Russell Watkins