Almost all land creatures, including us humans, have largely benefited from trees. They provide us oxygen, shade and food. They absorb carbon, cleaning the air in the process. They also help in stabilizing the soil and in cutting down soil erosion. The trees and the forests provide a habitat for several species of animals as well as plants.
For us humans, trees are of significant economic, industrial, environmental and even spiritual importance. But with over 100,000 existing species in the world, trees are so common that sometimes we take them for granted.
However, there are a few trees that stand out because of their strange (but nevertheless fascinating) appearance and their remarkable survival abilities. Here we list some of them:
1. Tule tree
At first, many thought that The Tule Tree (El Árbol del Tule) was comprised of three trees that grew together as one. However, a comprehensive DNA testing confirmed that the Tule Tree is actually one big and stout Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) that is over 300 years old.
This magnificent tree is located on the church grounds of a town named Santa Maria del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The Tule Tree has, undisputedly, the stoutest trunk of any tree species in the world, and it is now a candidate of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
2. Dragon blood tree
The Yemeni archipelago of Socotra is considered one of the most remote and desolate places on Earth. In addition, Socotra is the home of a unique and diverse fauna and flora that cannot be found anywhere else on this planet
It’s not surprising, therefore, that you’d find plants and creatures that are only endemic in Socotra. Perhaps the most famous of them all is the dragon blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which survives even the poorest and driest soils. The tree’s thickly packed crown gives it an appearance of an upturned umbrella. This tree is definitely strange not only on the outside, but also on the inside. When cut, a blood-like sap oozes out of the trunk, hence the tree’s name.
3. Rainbow eucalyptus
Nope, the tree is not destroyed with paint by some disruptive vandal, but it is painted by nature itself.
The rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) is native to the tropical forests of Indonesia and the Philippines. When the tree’s bark strips down, the trunk exposes striking multi-colored streaks that include yellow, purple, pink, green, orange, and red. Finally, the trunk turns to brown.
The rainbow eucalyptus is useful to man. It is grown either as an ornamental tree for gardens or for making commercial paper.
4. Boab Prison Tree
The Boab Prison Tree is a boab tree (Adansonia gregorii) located in the town of Derby, Western Australia. Its trunk’s circumference measures at 14.7 meters (48 feet) and the tree’s age is estimated to be 1,500 years old.
The tree’s stout, bloated trunk has a hollow space big enough for a human to enter, and it is enough to make you curious. But it may be supposedly tied to a rather atrocious past which would make this tree even more intriguing. It is reputed to have been used during the late 19th century as a temporary prison cell for the aborigines before they were finally taken to court for sentencing. However, there is no historical evidence yet that the Boab Prison Tree had ever been used for holding prisoners.
5. “Tree of Life”
There is a solitary tree that grows in the middle of a vast, arid desert in Bahrain. It is simply called the “Tree of Life,” a tree of the Prosopis cineraria species which is native to the drier regions of Western Asia and India.
This tree is called as such because it is still curiously healthy and lush after 400 years or so, considering it survives in a middle of a desert that sees very little to no rain. And there’s not any other tree or other forms of vegetation growing nearby, which makes the “Tree of Life” a lot more intriguing. It is the only major tree growing in that area.
A lot of speculations have cropped up as to where the “Tree of Life” gets its water source. Scientists have theorized that the tree may have drawn its water from a stream two miles away, owing to its deep and extended root system. Other people have speculated that the tree once belonged to the Garden of Eden, and so it gets its water from a more “divine” source.
While there is no clear explanation as to how this mysterious tree survives, one thing’s for sure: it has become a popular tourist attraction. The area enjoys about 50,000 tourists every year, and they come there just to see and get blown away by a tree that amazingly grows in the middle of nowhere.