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10 – Lone Cypress in Monterey
Buffeted by the cold Pacific Ocean wind, the scraggly Lone Cypress [wiki] (Cupressus macrocarpa) in Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula, California, isn’t a particularly large tree. Itmakes up for its small size, however, with its iconic status as a stunningly beautiful tree in splendid isolation, framed by an even more beautiful background of the Pacific Ocean.
9 – Circus Trees
As a hobby, bean farmer Axel Erlandson shaped trees – he pruned, bent, and grafted trees into fantastic shapes and called them “Circus Trees.” For example, to make this “Basket Tree” arborsculpture, Erlandson planted six sycamore trees in a circle and then grafted them together to form the diamond patterns.
8 – Giant Sequoias: General Sherman
Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which only grow in Sierra Nevada, California, are the world’s biggest trees (in terms of volume). The biggest is General Sherman in the Sequoia National Park – one behemoth of a tree at 275 feet (83.8 m), over 52,500 cubic feet of volume (1,486 m³), and over 6000 tons in weight.
7 – Coast Redwood: Hyperion and Drive-Thru Trees
There is another sequoia species (not to be confused with Giant Sequoia) that is quite remarkable: the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), the tallest trees in the world. The reigning champion is a tree called Hyperion in the Redwood National Park, identified by researcher Chris Atkins and amateur naturalist Michael Taylor in 2006. Measuring over 379 feet (155.6 115 m) tall, Hyperion beat out the previous record holder Stratosphere Giant [wiki] in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park (at 370 feet / 112.8 m). The scientists aren’t talking about the exact location of Hyperion: the terrain is difficult, and they don’t want a rush of visitors to come and trample the tree’s root system.
6 – Chapel-Oak of Allouville-Bellefosse
The Chêne-Chapelle (Chapel-Oak) of Allouville-Bellefosse is the most famous tree in France – actually, it’s more than just a tree: it’s a building and a religious monument all in one.
5 – Quaking Aspen: Pando (The Trembling Giant)
Pando or the Trembling Giant in Utah is actually a colony of a single Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) tree. All of the trees (technically, “stems”) in this colony are genetically identical (meaning, they’re exact clones of one another). In fact, they are all a part of a single living organism with an enormous underground root system.
4 – Montezuma Cypress: The Tule Tree
El Árbol del Tule (The Tule Tree) is an especially large Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. This tree has the largest trunk girth at 190 feet (58 m) and trunk diameter at 37 feet (11.3 m). The Tule tree is so thick that people say you don’t hug this tree, it hugs you instead!
3 – Banyan Tree: Sri Maha Bodhi Tree
The Banyan tree is named after “banians” or Hindu traders who carry out their business under the tree. Even if you have never heard of a Banyan tree (it was the tree used by Robinson Crusoe for his treehouse), you’d still recognize it. The shape of the giant tree is unmistakable: it has a majestic canopy with aerial roots running from the branches to the ground.
2 – Bristlecone Pine: Methuselah and Prometheus, the Oldest Trees in the World.
The oldest living tree in the world is a White Mountains, California, bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) named Methuselah [wiki], after the Biblical figure who lived to 969 years old. The Methuselah tree, found at 11,000 feet above sea level, is 4,838 years old – it is not only the oldest tree but also the oldest living non-clonal organism in the world.
1 – Baobab
The amazing baobab (Adansonia) or monkey bread tree can grow up to nearly 100 feet (30 m) tall and 35 feet (11 m) wide. Their defining characteristic: their swollen trunk are actually water storage – the baobab tree can store as much as 31,700 gallon (120,000 l) of water to endure harsh drought conditions. Baobab trees are native to Madagascar (it’s the country’s national tree!), mainland Africa, and Australia. A cluster of “the grandest of all” baobab trees (Adansonia grandidieri) can be found in the Baobab Avenue, near Morondava, in Madagascar.
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