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Nature

Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing

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

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

Scientists suggest that the channel gaps between the treetops occur because of mutual light-sensing among adjacent plants, which 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 its neighbor’s foliage ensures the safety and survival of all nearby trees. Talk about respecting one’s personal space!

Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
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.

Categories
Architecture & Design Nature Travel

Daisugi: Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees

The Japanese forestry technique for growing trees, daisugi, goes as far back to the 14th century.

The 600-year-old technique involves pruning a tree’s branches to construct a stable platform that supports producing perfectly straight lumber on top.

The ancient method, therefore, creates wood without cutting down trees. However, the ingenious forestry technique is no longer in use.

Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/TaganiPH 
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/StevenGParker
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/HooaFury 
Categories
Nature Technology Travel

The rise and tragic death of Sweden’s Broccoli Tree

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” said Andy Warhol. That was certainly true for the “broccoli tree” in Sweden.

In March 2018, the once anonymous broccoli-shaped tree on the shoe of Sweden’s Lake Vättern disappeared due to the popularity of its Instagram account of over 30,000 fans.

The tree became a tourist attraction and a host for various photography exhibitions during the time photographer Patrik Svedberg started documenting the broccoli tree.

But according to a heartless individual, the tree overstayed its welcome. Some loveless person sawed off one of the tree’s limbs and the tree suffered a tragic death.

“To share something is to risk losing it,” narrator Seth Radley notes in the tribute video. “You can’t unsaw a tree, but you can’t unsee one either.”

The broccoli tree may be gone, but its fame still lives on through calendars, prints, its nostalgic Instagram feed, and a website dedicated to its name.

What a harsh world for something that seemed so untouchable.

Categories
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
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