Trees are some of the most interesting, strange, and inspiring living things in the world. They grow tall, short, wide, thin, and every way in between. There’s a lot we can learn from trees. Let’s start with these tree facts!
Trees live longer than any living thing
Nothing on Earth lives as long as a tree. Some trees, like peaches, live only a brief time. Others, like the bristlecone pine, can live for thousands of years. The oldest tree is 4,845 years old.
Cottonwood seeds can soar for days
Trees generally reproduce by sending seeds off into the world. The cottonwood tree’s seed is especially interesting. The seeds are able to stay airborn for days, much longer than any other type of tree’s seed.
Trees have been to space
…At least kind of! Apollo 14 astronauts brought with them tree seeds which were later sprouted and grew into trees. These trees were donated to state forestry services in 1975 and 1976.
Have you ever knocked on wood?
It’s believed that the saying ‘knock on wood’ in order to get good luck or prevent disaster stems from an ancient superstition. Long ago, people believed that benevolent and helpful spirits lived in trees, and by knocking, the spirits would be alerted to your needs.
Trees save you mone
This is the most lucrative tree fact around! Planting shade trees around your home can save you money! A mature shade tree can actually reduce your home cooling bill by 20% in the summer.
Rings tell you a tree’s age, but…
Everyone knows that tree rings can reveal a tree’s age, but they can do so much more than that. Tree rings can also tell us information about past climate changes – even when volcanos erupted!
The largest organism in the world is a tree
The single largest organism on Earth is a tree! An aspen tree, named Pando, has clones of itself spread out across more than 5 miles of forest. Did you know: the word “Pando” means “I spread” in Latin?
Tree leaves don’t really change color
When a tree’s leaf turns red, orange, yellow, or purple in the fall, it’s not actually changing color! The tree’s leaf was always its autumn color, but leaves get their green color from cells containing chlorophyll.
Trees cut their own leaves off
It’s a bit like cutting your own hair, but at the cellular level! When a tree prepares to grow new leaves, a special layer of cells begins to develop where the leaf meets the tree’s branch. These cells eventually sever the leaf from the tree, causing it to fall.