8 Amazing Facts About Trees That You Didn’t Know
Here at LAN, we love trees. Just check out our hit article Top 10 Sacred Tree which highlights some of the wolrds most special tress in all of their awesomeness. The benefits of trees are widely known, but there are some amazing facts about trees that you might not know and will surely blow you mind!
8. A balance of carbon and oxygen
A single 30-meter-tall mature tree can absorb as much as 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds) of carbon dioxide in a year, which over it’s lifetime is approximately the same amount as would be produced by an average car being driven 41,500 kilometers (25,787 miles). The same tree could also produce 2,721 kilograms (5,998.78 pounds) of oxygen in a year, which is enough to support at least two people. According to the University of Melbourne, because trees grow faster the older they get, their capacity for photosynthesis and carbon sequestration increases as they age.
7. Trees and wildlife
You probably knew that trees were good for wildlife, but did you know just how good? For example, the common English Oak (Quercus robur) can support hundreds of different species, including 284 species of insect and 324 taxa (species, sub-species, and varieties) of lichens living directly on the tree. These in turn provide food for numerous birds and small mammals. The acorns of oak trees (which don’t usually appear until the tree is around 40 years old) are food for dozens of species, including wild boar (and now more commonly pigs), jays, pigeons, pheasants, ducks, squirrels, mice, badgers, and deer.
6. Who needs a compass?
When lost, it is possible to use trees to assist you in navigation. In northern temperate climates, moss will grow on the northern side of the tree trunk, where it is shadier. Failing that, if you find a tree that has been cut down, you can observe the rings of the tree to discover which direction north is. In the northern hemisphere, the rings of growth in a tree trunk are slightly thicker on the southern side, which receives more light. The converse is true in the southern hemisphere.
5. Saving energy and money
Most people know that trees near buildings can raise property prices by an average of 14 percent in the U.K. and as much as up to 37 percent in the U.S. But trees can also have an impact on the energy used for heating and cooling a building, reducing air conditioning costs by as much as 30 percent and saving 20 to 50 percent on energy for heating. This is because as well as providing shade, a large tree can also transpire as much as 378.5 liters (100 gallons) of water into the air per day. This has a cooling effect roughly equivalent to 10 single room-sized air conditioning units operating 20 hours a day!
4. Did trees really kill the dinosaurs?
There is a theory that the evolution of tall, woody, flowering trees (angiosperms) might have played a pivotal role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. It is believed, by some, that the speed at which flowering plants evolved on Earth (possibly spurred on by rapid climate change) occurred too quickly for dinosaurs to adapt their diets. Flowering plants are better at producing oxygen. With the rapid increase in flowering plants, scientists suggest that the metabolism of large herbivorous dinosaurs might have increased to the point that they could not eat enough food to sustain their increased metabolism.
3. Self-defense and communication
Trees are masters of both self-defense and communication. Scientists have found that when attacked by insects, trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics. These noxious compounds are distasteful to tree pests and can even impede their growth. What’s amazing is that once a tree is attacked, it will “signal” to other nearby trees to also start their self-defense, before they are attacked! Methods of communication include releasing chemicals into the wind and possibly even sending chemical or electric signals through the michorizal network of roots (a network of shared fungus fibers).
2. The biggest and the best
Contrary to popular belief, the tallest trees in the world are actually the Coast or Californian Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), and not the Giant Redwoods or Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Even though both species of trees are sometimes referred to as Giant Redwoods, the
Sequoia grows slightly taller, with the tallest recorded at 115.7 meters (379.7 feet). This behemoth, called “Hyperion”, can be found in Redwood National Park, California, (although its exact location is not disclosed for fear of vandalism).
1. The oldest living thing on Earth
The oldest living organism on Earth is believed to be the “Pando” colony of Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Utah, also known as the Trembling Giant. The colony of trees covers some 41.7 hectares (103 acres) and is estimated to weigh nearly 6,000,000 kilograms (6,600 tons), making it also the heaviest known organism. Being a clonal colony, the tree “trunks” all share identical genetic makeup. It is estimated that parts of the inter-connected root stock that links the colony together is in excess of 80,000 years old!
There are many interesting facts about trees. You probably know most of the more common facts, but did you know about tree communication or about the oldest living tree on Earth? If you know of any more amazing facts we might have missed, please let us know in the comments below.
Article written by Ashley Penn
Featured image: tr3gin / shutterstock.com
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