When we think of trees here in Canada, red maples, spruce, and pine are a few that come to mind. And while some of us still gaze up at trees in wonder, sadly, many of us take them for granted, passing them by without a glance. But the trees below aren’t what many of us would describe as typical. Some of these trees are so unusual, you won’t believe they’re real.
The Socotra dragon tree is also known as the “dragon's blood tree” for its red resin, which is used as medicine and dye. This tree looks like an upright umbrella that stands up to 10 metres tall, and is native to an archipelago of four islands near the Horn of Africa. Unfortunately, the future of the tree is threatened by climate change, as the Socotra archipelago continues to dry out.
It’s hard to imagine that a tree like this, which can grow up to 200 metres wide and 30 metres high, begins as a strangling fig. The banyan tree starts small, growing on other trees before eventually enveloping them entirely. Big leathery leaves hang down from its many trunks, making it an ideal tree for shade. The banyan tree can be found in India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia, where its bark, seeds, and sap are used for medicinal purposes.
Snow-covered trees in Lapland
Winter lasts more than half a year in Lapland, a northern region that stretches across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The pine and spruce trees that dot the region are generally indistinguishable when completely covered in snow, appearing more like giants frozen in time under a cloak of white.
On first glance, it might appear as though this tree’s trunk has been used as a paint canvas, but the bright colours adorning the rainbow eucalyptus are natural, formed as layers of the bark peel away. Because sections of the bark peel off at different times, a tree can show several colours at once—starting as a bright green layer and fading over time to a darker hue before turning to shades of blue, purple, pink, orange, red, and black. The rainbow eucalyptus is native to island nations like Indonesia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, but can be grown in similar climates.
This enormous tree in Modjadjiskloof, South Africa, is carbon-dated to be more than 1,700 years old, though some estimate it could be up to 6,000 years old. Its trunk is 47 metres wide and it stands 22 metres tall. A young boabab tree stores water in its swollen trunk, earning it the nickname, “tree of life.” But after about 1,000 years, baobabs hollow out, leaving the perfect amount of room inside its trunk for a cozy rustic pub.
This tropical tree is easily identified by its above-ground roots that prop its branches up out of water. Its tangle of roots grows at sea level along the water’s shoreline. Red mangroves are sometimes called "walking trees" due to their appearance on the water. They can grow higher than 25 metres in the tropics, but don't usual grow higher than 6 metres in the United States, making them appear more like shrubs than trees.
This famous drive-thru tree is a coastal redwood located in Leggett, California. It stands 96 metres tall and more than six metres across. The tree is estimated to be 2,000 years old. It's known as the “chandelier tree” because of its large branches that hand on either side. So if you can stand on your head, you'll get the chandelier effect. The forest where it lives is also home to some of the tallest trees on earth.
Poland's Crooked Forest
Near the town of Gryfino in Western Poland, a bizarre group of pine trees grow with a deep curve at their base. The 400 or so J-shaped trees exist in a forest of regular, straight-standing pine. The mystery of the bent trees remains unsolved, but it’s believed the trees date back to the 1930s.
The basket tree
The strange creation of Swedish-American farmer Axel Erlandson can be seen at Gilroy Gardens in California. The “basket tree” is actually a fusion of six sycamore trees grafted together in a diamond pattern. It’s part of a collection of uniquely shaped trees that Erlandson dubbed the "tree circus."