Trees are essential for life to exist on Earth. They clean the air and provide oxygen; prevent soil erosion and clean our water; provide food for humans and wildlife; increase property values and conserve energy. And, those are just a few of the things they do! Trees are beautiful and statuesque. But, some trees are just plain strange-looking. Below are 6 of the weirdest trees on Earth!
The Canary Islands Dragon Tree
The Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) is, believe it or not, a member of the asparagus family. What a strange tree! They are known for their umbrella-like canopy. The fruit from this tree was once the main diet of a now extinct flightless bird.
The bird would eat the fruit, then spread the seeds by elimination. It’s believed that the decline of naturally occurring Dragon Trees is directly related to this bird’s extinction. The seeds have to be planted by hand now. These trees are very rare now and there are several networks of people working to preserve these amazing trees.
The Chapel Tree, France
The Chapel Tree, or Chêne chapelle, is an ancient oak tree in France. It’s estimated to be between 800 – 1200 years old, which means it was alive during Louis IX reign! It stands about 49 feet high and has a circumference of approximately 52 feet. When it was almost 500 years old, it was struck by lightning.
The fire created by the lightning slowly burned through the trunk of the tree, hollowing it out. The village priest, Father Du Cerceau, believed that the lightning strike and subsequent hollowing of the trunk was a holy event. So, the villagers built a chapel inside of the tree in honor of the Virgin Mary. Another chapel was built higher up in the tree many years later. Mass is still held in the tree chapel two times a year.
Baobab tree, Africa
The Baobab tree is one of the strangest looking trees on this list. It has a very tall, huge trunk that holds an umbrella canopy. It is one of the few plants that can survive living on the African savannah. During the rainy season, the trunk becomes a reservoir of water. Then, during the driest part of the year, the tree produces a nutrient dense fruit. For this reason it is known as “The Tree of Life.”
Silk Cotton Tree in Cambodia
Named for the fibrous tuft produced by its seed pods, this species of trees is famous for the way they have grown into and around the Temple of Ta Prohm. While the trunks of the trees rise high above the temple, the snake-like roots coil around the ruins of the temple.
These trees are some of the largest in the world. The oldest known Silk Cotton Tree can be found in Miami, Florida. It is estimated to be 200 years old.
El Árbol del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico
El Árbol del Tule or The Tule Tree, is a Montezuma Cypress tree found in Oaxaca, Mexico. While the tree is a relatively short 111 feet tall, the trunk is a stout 32 feet in diameter.
It was once believed that the trunk was a combination of many different trees that fused together as it grew. Recent DNA testing has proven that it is, in fact, just one tree. The tree is also very, very old. It is believed to be 1500 years old and is called the widest tree in the world.
The Chandelier Tree, California
The Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA is a massive redwood tree that stands 315 feet tall and has a trunk that is 6 feet 9 inches wide. In the 1930s, a tunnel was carved through the trunk of the tree by Charlie Underwood.
The tunnel was cut as a gimmick to attract tourism to the area, and it worked! People would flock by the thousands to drive their cars, bikes or just walk through the tree. Several other redwood trees were also carved out for this same reason. Due to the extensive damage that tunneling does to these majestic trees, they are no longer carved up just for the sake of tourism.