For Some Reason This Tree Species Leans Sideways When Planted Outside Its Natural Habitat

Araucaria columnaris, also known as the coral reef araucaria, Cook pine or New Caledonia pine, is a species of conifer native to New Caledonia that tends to tilt sideways when planted outside its natural habitat.

First classified by Johann Reinhold Forster, a botanist accompanying Captain James Cook on his second voyage to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible, the araucaria columnaris soon became popular all around the world, thanks to its distinctive narrowly conical shape and its height (up to 60 meters). Nowadays, these evergreen giants are planted as ornamental trees in various areas with warm and temperate climate on five continents, and they generally don’t attract too much attention, but in some cases they have one noticeable particularity – they lean heavily to one side, and when there are more of them planted in the same area, they all lean in the same direction…

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Japan’s Mesmerizing Tree Circles Are the Result of a 50-Year Experiment

A cedar forest in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture is home to a couple of unusual crop circle-like patterns that are clearly not random in nature.

Photos of the bizarre patterns, which are visible only from above, made their way on the internet about three years ago and fueled all kinds of conspiracy theories that involved everything from aliens to secret government experiments. Well, that second one turned out to be quite close to the truth, only the experiments weren’t secret, and they weren’t conducted by some obscure outfit, but by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Back in 1973 an area of land near Nichinan City was designated as “experimental forestry” and the results of that experiment are visible today.

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Retired Couple Have Been Fighting the Desert for Almost Two Decades

A retired elderly couple has been fighting the desertification of their home in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for the last 19 years by planting hundreds of hectares of drought-resistant plants.

Seventy-year-old Tububatu and his wife Taoshengchagan live in a village on the edge of Badain Jaran, China’s third-largest desert, and they’ve been spending every day since their retirement (in 2002) fighting the advancement of the desert with the help of plant-life. Others had tried fighting the desert and failed, but Tububatu just wanted to know if he could make a difference. He started out by planting just 50 trees, but kept doubling his efforts to the point where he now plants thousands of saplings a year. His small desert oasis now spans over 266 hectares and numbers tens of thousands of drought-resistant trees.

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Giant Smiley Face on Oregon Hillside Is Made Up of Trees

People Driving along Oregon Route 18 in the autumn months or early December are treated to a unique view that is sure to brighten their day – a giant smiley face looking back at them from forest-covered hillside.

Located at roughly mile 25 on Oregon Route 18, between Willamina and Grand Ronde, the now famous smiley face of Oregon makes its appearance every fall, as the color of the trees that make up its body start to change color. It is about 300 feet in diameter, and consists of two different types of conifers, one that changes color in autumn, and one that remains all year round. It has become a popular landmark in Oregon’s rural Polk County, and should continue to put smiles on people’s faces for the next 30-50 years, until the trees are ready to be harvested.

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Indian Man Turns Barren Land Into 10,000-Tree Orchard

An Indian man who started planting trees in a barren, sand-filled field 15 years ago is now being praised for transforming the wasteland into a 10,000-tree orchard.

Satyendra Gautam Manjhi, a simple man from the small village of Imaliyachak, in the Indian state of Bihar, claims he was inspired to start planting trees after being visited by Dashrath Manjhi, known as “the man who moved a mountain“. The story of how he spent over 20 years chiseling away at a mountain to make a road to his village has inspired a generation, including the protagonist of this story. Satyendrav says that Dashrath himself told him to start planting an orchard, and that’s exactly what he did.

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Daisugi – Ancient Forestry Technique Produces Plenty of Lumber From a Single Tree

Daisugi is a centuries-old forestry technique developed in Japan as a way of cultivating the highly-prized Kitayama Cedar without actually using any land. Today, the visually-striking technique can be witnessed in ornamental gardens.

Dating back to the 14th century, daisugi allowed for the cultivation of Kitayama cedar, a species of tree known for growing exceptionally straight and lacking knots, in a time when high demand and lack of straight land for planting enough trees made growing Kitayama cedars impossible. Similar to the famous art of bonsai, daisugi basically involved heavily pruning a so-called “mother cedar tree” so that only the straightest shoots are allowed to grow. Careful hand-pruning is conducted every couple years, leaving only the top boughs and ensuring that the shoots remain knot free. After about 20 years, the now massive shoots can either be harvested as exceptional Kitayama lumber, or replanted to repopulate forests.

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The Heartbreaking Story of the World’s Loneliest Plant

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, in the UK, are home to thousands of fascinating plants, but none as lonely as the Encephalartos woodii, an ancient cycad species and, most likely, the last one of its kind.

It was in 1895 that botanist John Medley Wood noticed this interesting-looking palm tree on a steep slope in Zululand, southern Africa. Intrigued by its multiple trunks and arched palm fronds, Dr. Wood — who made his living collecting rare plants – had some stems removed and sent to London in a box.It ended up in the Palm House at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, where it has been waiting for a mate for over a century. Despite numerous efforts to find it a mate, the Encephalartos woodii at Kew remains alone, unable to produce an offspring and propagate its species. For this reason, many consider it the world’s loneliest plant.

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Drone Photographer Captures ‘Lenin’-Shaped Forest in Siberia

Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the founder and first leader of the Soviet Union, lives on in the hearts and minds of the Russian people, but also in one little-known geoglyph in the country’s Siberia region – pine tree forest that spells “Lenin” in Cyrillic letters.

Russian photographer Slava Stepanov was planning a business trip to the city of Omsk, when he remembered a fascinating Google Earth satellite image captured in that region a few years earlier. Taking a day off from work, Stepanov decided to drive to the town of Tyukalinsk and look for a very common-looking grove on the outskirts of the settlement. Planted in straight rows, typical for man-made forests, the pine grove only revealed its secret when Stepanov released his drone to get a view from high above.

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The Chained Oak of Oakmanor – An Eerie Tourist Attraction

The county of Staffordshire, in central UK, is home to a mysterious and rather eerie attraction – an old oak tree with branches shackled in heavy metal chains tied to a creepy local legend.

The story of the Chained Oak near the village of Alton is the most famous legend in Staffordshire. It is said that one day during the 1830’s, as the Earl of Shrewsbury was returning home to his home at Alton Towers estate a beggar woman stopped his carriage in the middle of the road and asked him if he could spare a coin or two. The earl cruelly dismissed her and urged the driver to move on, at which point the woman allegedly cursed him to lose a member of his family whenever a branch fell off a magnificent oak on the side of the road.

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The Twisted Trees of Slope Point – A Natural Wonder Shaped by the Wind

Slope Point is known for being the southernmost tip on New Zealand’s South Island, but also for hosting some of the strangest-looking trees in the world. They are shaped by the relentless winds that constantly pummel this place.

Trees don’t usually grow in the Slope Point area. It’s not that the soil isn’t fertile enough, but the winds blowing through the slopes and fields of this place make it an inhospitable place. Still, the farmers that bring their sheep here for grazing planted patches of trees as shelter for the animals. Only instead of growing upright, like other specimens, most of these trees are twisted and crooked, with their canopy looking like windswept hair. They look unlike anything else in the world, and they have made the otherwise unremarkable Slope Point famous around the globe.

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Colombian Soccer Field Has Two Living Trees as Goalkeepers

A newly-inaugurated synthetic soccer pitch in Bogota, Colombia, has been attracting a lot of attention on social media due to a couple of permanent “players” – two trees growing in front of each goal.

Back in 2017 the District Institute of Recreation and Sports (IDRD) commissioned engineering and architecture studies for the adaptation and improvement of Parque Japon, a park in northern Bogota, the capital of Bogota. Everything was going according to plan until locals in the area surrounding the park learned that authorities planned to remove or relocate some of the trees in the park to make room for a synthetic soccer and volleyball field. The people took the IDRD to court and in January of this year they won, which technically meant that the trees could not be touched by authorities. However, that didn’t stop contractors from moving forward with the soccer field…

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Double Amputee Turns Barren Hills into Lush 17,000-Tree Forest

Ma Sanxiao, a 70-year-old double amputee and army veteran from Jingxing, North China’s Hebei province, has pent the last 19 years of his life planting thousands of trees and turning the once barren hills surrounding his village into a small forest.

Ma was diagnosed with blood poisoning in 1974, while serving in the Chinese Army. His condition got worse after he retired, and eventually had both legs amputated because of it – his right leg in 1985, and the left one in 2005. After seven major operations and constant medical treatments, he could barely afford to take care of his family, and ,because of his disability, finding a job proved very difficult. His veteran subsidy was enough to cover his medicine, but he couldn’t remain idle, so in 2000, after getting inspired by another tree-planting story on TV, the double-amputee started planting parasol trees in the barren hills around his remote village, with the intention of selling them for profit.

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Tree Growing in the Stands of a Football Stadium Is Local Team’s Most Famous Supporter

The Resistencia Sport Club, a small football club in Paraguay’s second division, is the first in the world to make a tree growing in the stands of its stadium an official supporter, even offering it a membership card and complimentary jersey.

Resistencia’s evergreen supporter is as old as the club, so both the team and its human supporters consider it part of their history. It was around back when the stadium was a mere football field in the middle of a wasteland, so 20-years ago, when the club decided to built concrete stands for its fans, it never even considered the possibility of cutting down their oldest supporters. Instead, they asked the architects and engineers in charge of the project to come up with a solution that would allow it to thrive. So they built the stands around it, allowing human fans to watch home games in its shade. A couple of years ago, when Resistencia celebrated its 100th anniversary, management decided to honor the tree by making it an official member of the club, complete with its own member card and jersey.

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Indian “Tree Man” Planted Over 5 Million Trees to Cope with Tragedy

Vishweshwar Dutt Saklani took his last breath on January 18, 2019, but he will live on in the memory of his countrymen as the “Tree Man of Uttarakhan”, a dedicated conservationist who planted over 50 lakh (5 million) trees and turned his once barren homeland into a lush forest.

Saklani had been fond of trees all his life. He planted his first sapling when he was eight years old under his uncle’s guidance, and kept at it for the next seven decades of his life, until he lost his sight and succumbed to the hardships of old age. However, by that time, the once barren hills in and around his native village of Pujargaon had already become home to a lush forest. Vishweshwar Dutt Saklani’s love for trees is well known, as he often used to call them his children or his closest companions, but few know that the legendary conservationist planted millions of trees to cope with the tragedies in his life.

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The Rare Rainforest Tree That Bleeds Metal

Pycnandra acuminata is a rare tree native to the shrinking rainforests of New Caledonia that has the rare ability to collect large quantities of nickel from the ground. Its blue-green sap reportedly contains up to 25% nickel.

Trees, or plants in general for that matter, and heavy metals like nickel and zinc don’t really go well together, and that’s what makes Pycnandra acuminata and a few other rare tress species known as “hyperaccumulators” so special. They have somehow evolved to suck out normally toxic levels of heavy metals from the soil and store it in their stems, leaves and seeds. Unfortunately, heavy deforestation in New Caledonia has put this remarkable tree on the list of endangered trees before scientists could even figure out how and why it can tolerate such high quantities of nickel in its latex-like sap.

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