The Manchineel – World’s Most Dangerous Tree for Several Reasons

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The Manchineel tree, native to the Western Hemisphere, is known as the most poisonous tree in the world. In places where it grows – Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas – the manchineel is often marked with a red band to warn passersby not to get too near it.

The tree is poisonous on so many levels that if you ever spot one, it is better you stay at least a few yards away from it. Its fruit resembles a small apple, but eating one could land you right in the emergency room. It was supposedly named ‘manzanita de la muerte’ (little apple of death) by Christopher Columbus. But it might just be the least dangerous part of the tree.

The manchineel’s milky white sap is incredibly caustic and poisonous as well – even a drop could cause skin blisters, dermatitis, swelling or burns. This happens a lot with unsuspecting travelers who use the tree for shelter from the rains. The sap is so caustic that even the rain drops coming from the branches can cause burns. The bark is poisonous too – burning it releases a smoke that causes temporary (and in some cases, permanent) blindness. Considering all the ways it can hurt you, it’s no wonder the manchineel currently holds the Guinness record for world’s most dangerous tree.

manchineel-tree

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Tree Shaping – The Art of Turning Young Trees into Living Works of Art

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Who said you need to chop the wood off trees to make sculptures? Tree shaping is an art form that makes use of living trees to make wonderful creations. Also known as Biotecture, Grown Furniture or simply tree sculpting, the technique involves growing and shaping the trunks of trees and other woody plants by grafting or pruning. The trunks or branches are grown into ornamental or useful shapes.

Tree branches and trunks have the unique ability to unite together by grafting. The new shapes are retained when fresh layers of wood grow over the older ones. So a tree sculptor winds two or more parts of a tree together by cutting off the bark and then binds the wounded parts together so that the contact is secure. This promotes the tree parts to grow together. These stems and branches need to be wound together for at least a year depending on the amount of resistance they need to overcome. Additional layers of wood grow during this time, acting as a natural cast and retaining the new desired shape. Once the shape is able to hold itself, the bracing is removed. The techniques used by artists vary between Instant Tree Shaping, also known as Arborsculpture (mature trees bent into the desired shape and held until cast), Aeroponic Culture (the use of living, air-suspended roots to make bridges) and Gradual Tree Shaping (trees are grown from saplings for the specific purpose of creating a design).

Arborsculpture

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Artist Twists Aluminum Wire into Beautiful Tree Sculptures

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I find it fascinating how some artists can turn rigid materials into works of art that seem almost organic. Case in point, Kevin Iris, a man who creates beautiful tree sculptures exclusively from aluminum wire.

A self-proclaimed “treenut” Kevin Iris has been making incredibly detailed tree sculptures from aluminum wire for the last 23 years. His works vary in shape and size, as he’s trying to inspire different emotions with each one, but the most remarkable thing that’s common to all of them is that they are made only out of twisted wire. That means he uses no glue, coatings or any other substances. he simply takes tens of feet of aluminum wire and twists them into a variety of shapes. As you can imagine, Kevin’s artistic process is very laborious and time-consuming. For example, talking about the aluminum tree n the photo below, the artist says “I average about 26 leaves per strand so I have about 10,062 leaves up there on the top. This [22-inch wide] tree took about 450 hours or so of hands on twisting wire time over four months.” Pretty remarkable stuff…

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7 Bad-Ass Trees You’ll Probably Never Climb

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I remember reading an article on Environmental Graffiti, a few months ago, about the thorniest trees on Earth. The photos were really impressive, considering I had no idea such trees even existed, but I felt there wasn’t really enough information about these amazing species of trees. So I took it upon myself to do some research and came up with seven bad-ass trees you couldn’t even hope to climb without some serious protective gear.

Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba Speciosa)

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Two Color Cherry Tree Blossoms in Britain

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Due to some careless pruning, a cherry tree, in the British village of Portchester, has grown an impressive cascade of both white and pink blossoms.

Some time ago, an ornamental Kanzan cherry tree was grafted onto the rootstock of a hardier native cherry tree. This technique was invented by the ancient Chinese,and under normal circumstances, all the rootstock does is provide the tree with needed nutrients.

But the rootstock of this particular cherry tree, in Portchester, decided to let everyone know it’s still alive and kicking. According to tree experts, this sort of thing happens, if the grafting isn’t controlled, because the native cherry tree is much more vigorous, and often overwhelms the ornamental variety.  Take a look at how beautiful a cherry tree hybrid can be.

via Daily Mail

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Jabuticaba – The Grape Tree That Fruits on Its Trunk

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I remember seeing a tree that had flowers on most of its trunk, but I’ve never even heard of a tree that laid fruit directly on its trunk. Have you?

Jabuticaba, also known as the Grape Tree, is a unique tree found around South-American countries like Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Unlike other trees, its fruit can be plucked and eaten right off the trunk. In order to survive, Jabuticaba has evolved in order to make its fruit more accessible to animals who can’t climb. This way they can reach the fruit, eat it and expel the seeds far away from the parent tree.

Jabuticaba fruits are purple, juicy, and can be either eaten fresh, used in jellies, or left to ferment and made into wine and strong liquor. Dried Jabuticaba fruit peels can be used to treat asthma and diarrhea, and scientists hope it will prove useful in the fight against cancer, as several anti-cancer compounds have been identified in the fruit.

It may look like these tree have been infected by some sort of plant disease, but it’s just evolution at work.

via Kuriositas

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Rainbow Eucalyptus – Nature’s Painted Tree

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It might look like someone painted these by hand, but the only artist responsible for these living works of art, is Mother Nature.

The incredible looking Rainbow Eucalyptus is the only species of eucalyptus that grows in the northern hemisphere. It can grow to impressive heights, of up to 70 meters, and it is normally grown for its pulpwood, used to create white paper. There are many other interesting facts regarding Rainbow Eucalyptus, but the obvious question arises: why does it look like it’s been painted?

The secret behind the Rainbow Eucalyptus is actually pretty simple. The trees shed multiple patches of bark every year, but not at the same time. As the patches are gone, the green inner bark is exposed, and, as it matures, every new patch first turns bluish, then orange, purple and maroon. This creates the rainbow effect that makes these trees so nice to look at.

Rainbow Eucalyptus can be found in New Guinea, New Britain and the Philippines.

via Kuriositas

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