The 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World
or 10 Trees Not Good Enough To Be My Logo
10. Lone Cypress in Monterey
Buffeted by the cold Pacific Ocean wind, the scraggly Lone Cypress in Pebble Beach, California, isn’t a particularly large tree. It makes up for its small size, however, with its iconic status as a stunningly beautiful tree in splendid isolation. When asked how it felt about its predicament the tree replied “Isolation ain’t so splendid, but then again at least I am not in Ténéré”
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." Erlandson was very secretive and refused to reveal his methods on how to grow the Circus Trees and carried the secrets to his grave. Trees everywhere rejoiced upon his death.
8. Giant Sequoias: General Sherman
Giant Sequoias, 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 at 275 feet. For over a century there was a fierce competition for the title of the largest tree between General Sherman and General Grant at King’s Canyon National Park, which actually has a larger circumference. In 1921, a team of surveyors from Florida carefully measured the two giants – with their data, and according to the complex American Forestry Association system of judging a tree, General Grant should have been award the title of largest tree. However, to simplify the matter, it was later determined that in this case, volume, not point system, should be the determining factor. General Grant is now referred to as President Gore.
7. Coast Redwood: Hyperion and Drive-Thru Trees
There is another Sequoia species that is quite remarkable: the Coast Redwood, the tallest trees in the world. The reigning champion is a tree called Hyperion measuring over 379 feet in the Redwood National Park. That’s not all that’s amazing about the Coast Redwood: there are four giant California redwoods big enough that you can drive your car through them! The most famous of the drive-through trees is the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, California. It’s a 315 foot tall redwood tree, with a 6 foot wide by 9 foot tall hole cut through its base in the 1930s before engineers learned how to place curves in roadways.
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. In 1669, l’Abbe du Detroit and du Cerceau decided to build a chapel in a 500 years old or so oak tree made hollow by a lightning bolt. The priests built a small altar to the Virgin Mary. Later on, a second chapel and a staircase were added.
Now, with parts of the tree are dead, the crown keeps becoming smaller and smaller every year, and parts of the tree’s bark, which fell off due to old age, are covered by protective oak shingles. Poles and cables support the aging tree, which in fact, may not live much longer. Some cynics suggest the tree to be a metaphor for the church as a whole.
5. Quaking Aspen: Pando (The Trembling Giant)
Pando or the Trembling Giant in Utah is actually a colony of a single Quaking Aspen 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. Pando, which is Latin for "I Spread," (as opposed to Panda, which is Latin for “I will not mate and thus go extinct”), is composed of about 47,000 stems spread throughout 107 acres of land. It estimated to weigh 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest known organism. Although the average age of the individual stems are 130 years, the entire organism is estimated to be about 80,000 years old! The tree(s) force a complete 180 on the meaning of “Seeing the Forest for the Trees”!
4. Montezuma Cypress: The Tule Tree
"The Tule Tree" is an especially large Montezuma cypress 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). For a while, detractors argued that it was actually treo masquerading as one – however, careful DNA analysis confirmed that it is indeed one magnificent tree. In 1994, the tree (and Mexican pride) were in jeopardy: the leaves were sickly yellow and there were dead branches everywhere- the tree appeared to be dying. When tree "doctors" were called in, they diagnosed the problem as dying of thirst. Apparently it overheard too many tourist saying “Don’t Drink The Water”.
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…not that kind of business. 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 named Methuselah, 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. The story of Prometheus is even more interesting: in 1964, Donald (Cut ‘er Down) Currey, then a graduate student, was taking core samples from a tree named Prometheus. His boring tool broke inside the tree, so he asked for permission from the US Forest Service to cut it down and examine the full cross section of the wood. Surprisingly the Forest Service agreed! When they examined the tree, Prometheus turned out to be about 5,000 years old, which would have made it the world’s oldest tree when the scientist unwittingly killed it!
The amazing baobab or monkey bread tree can grow up to nearly 100 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Their defining characteristic: their swollen trunk are actually water storage – the baobab tree can store as much as 31,700 gallon of water to endure harsh drought conditions. All forms of grass call this tree selfish and refuses to grow anywhere near it.
Coulda Been A Contender - The Lonely Tree of Ténéré
The Tree of Ténéré was the world’s most isolated tree – the solitary acacia, which grew in the Sahara desert in Niger, Africa, was the only tree within more than 250 miles around. When scientists dug a hole near the tree, they found its roots went down as deep as 120 feet below to the water table! Apparently, being the only tree in that part of the wide-open desert, wasn’t enough to stop a drunk Libyan truck driver from driving his truck into it, knocking it down and killing it! Now, a metal sculpture was placed in its spot to commemorate the Lonely Tree of Ténéré: The sculpture has yet to be hit as warning signs have been erected to alert traffic.
Honorable Mention - The albinoTree
Though the albinoTree is not as tall or as wide or as old or as lonely or as selfish as any of the world’s most magnificent trees, if you were to cut down any of these trees and fashion a guitar… the albinoTree could use that guitar to write a song about tall wide old lonely selfish trees!