Tree-mendous! Seven of the World’s Most Extraordinary Trees

Take a look at some of the world's most remarkable trees.

Although most of us take them for granted, trees are crucial to the survival of the human race on earth. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into our atmosphere and they provide a habitat for wildlife. Trees act as water purifiers, temperature regulators and sound barriers. In short, trees are amazing. And some trees are truly extraordinary; just take a look at these, for example:

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The Wollemi Pine, Wollemi National Park, Australia

Formerly believed to be extinct; the Wollemi pine is one of the world’s rarest trees with only around one hundred specimens still in existence in the wild. This tree was around when dinosaurs roamed the earth; in fact the oldest Wollemi Pine fossil is about ninety million years old. Hidden in a protected location around two hundred kilometres west of Sydney, Australia, the Wollemi Pine is the subject of a concerted conservation effort dedicated to the restoration of this member of a 200 million year old tree family.

The Major Oak, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, UK

As oak trees go, the famous Major Oak has much to boast about. Estimated to be between eight hundred and one thousand years old, the Major Oak has grown to an unprecedented size, reaching a height of fifty-two feet and with a trunk girth of thirty-five feet. The Major Oak’s main claim to fame, though, is that the legendary outlaw Robin Hood used the partially hollow trunk of the Major Oak as a place to hide from pursuing adversaries.

Methuselah, Inyo County, California, USA

The name of this tree should be sufficient to let us know that Methuselah – a Great Basin Thistlecone Pine – is officially the oldest living tree on earth. At 4,843 years old, Methuselah predates the Egyptian pyramids and continues to thrive despite being situated in a mountainside environment not considered conducive to tree longevity.

Pirangi Cashew Tree, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

The story of the world’s largest cashew nut tree is poignant. Planted in the year 1888 by the fisherman Luiz Inácio de Oliveira, he died many years later in the shade of its branches at the age of 93. His legacy was a tree that grew not in height but in breadth; the Pirangi cashew tree covers an area of 7,500 square metres – the result of a genetic blip which caused the tree to branch sideways rather than upwards. Where branches became too heavy and touched the ground they rooted as though new trees and thus this remarkable single tree spread. Consequently, the Pirangi cashew tree still produces around eighty thousand cashew nuts every year; these are free to be picked by visitors to the national park in which the tree grows.

The Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya, India

The original Bodhi Tree (‘tree of awakening’) no longer exists although it is believed to have been replaced by a cutting, planted in the year 288BC, from the original tree. Considered one of the most spiritual trees in existence, the Bodhi Tree – a species of fig with heart-shaped leaves – is the tree beneath which Siddharta Gautama meditated for forty-nine days, achieving spiritual enlightenment as a consequence and emerging as Buddha (‘the enlightened one’). Nowadays the ancient Bodhi Tree, alongside the Mahabodhi Temple, is an important destination for Buddhist pilgrims.

General Sherman, Sequoia National Park, California, USA

Truly a giant among trees, the General Sherman is the largest known single-stem tree in the world. A Giant Sequoia (naturally!) the General Sherman is around two thousand years old and is roughly 275 feet high – roughly the same height as a twenty-five storey building and a little shorter than the Statue of Liberty. A branch that fell from the General Sherman as a result of natural causes in 2006 was about 140 feet long and had a diameter greater than six feet; in other words, this branch held the dimensions of an average full-sized tree. Luckily, no-one was around when it fell.

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The Tree of Life, nr Jebel Dukhan, Bahrain

The Tree of Life, a 400 year old Mesquite tree, is something of an enigma. It is the sole living thing in the midst of the Bahrain Desert, and thus a landmark. In an environment ostensibly free of water, the survival of the Tree of Life is a mystery. Those of scientific mind argue that the tree, its species known for particularly deep roots, has struck lucky in finding a rare water source. Local inhabitants, however, prefer to believe that the tree is a remnant of the original Garden of Eden.

This story is by Buxtons. Buxtons is a retailer of garden and arborist products, including forestry equipment.