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Distribution of trees in the United States

Technically this shows "above-ground woody biomass," but in practical terms it is a map of tree density.

The "crooked forest" of Gryfino (Poland) - updated

The link for the embedded photo was sent to me by Jennifer Fox, with a request for an explanation, since her web search had not proved satisfactory.

Joshua tree

“Nothing the desert produces expresses it better than the unhappy growth of the tree yuccas. Tormented, thin forests of it stalk drearily in the high mesas, particularly in that triangular slip that fans out eastward from the meeting of the Sierras and coastwise hills where the first swings across the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley.

The loneliest cycad ?

Excerpts from a story by Robert Krulwich at NPR: One day in 1895, while walking through the Ngoya Forest in Zululand, southern Africa, a botanist with the oh so suitable name of John Medley Wood caught sight of a tree...


"Not only do we come in contact with it constantly in our daily lives, from cinnamon to cork to chewing gum to rubber, but it’s also a hauntingly beautiful, textured piece of living matter that looks like the skin of some magnificent mythical dragon.

The ginkgo tree produces sperm. Motile sperm.

YouTube link. (another, briefer, video here). You learn something every day.  I knew that the ginko is a most unusual tree - often described as a "living fossil" little unchanged from the Permian era.  I certainly didn't know that it produces motile sperm.  Here are some excerpts from an interesting article in Harvard Magazine: [In 1896] in Tokyo, Japanese botanist Sakugoro Hirase peered through his microscope at the inside of a female ginkgo tree’s ovule.

Boojum tree

This photograph by Eliot Porter, entitled Cirio Near Las Tres Virgenes Volcano, Baja California (1966) is from the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This tree had to be killed in order to save it

Last week authorities in Japan cut down a pine tree at Rikuzentakata in a bid to preserve it. The tree had been part of a coastal forest, but was the only one left standing after last year's tsunami struck the country.

Camel thorn trees in Namibia

The above image (via BoingBoing), by Frans Lanting was published by National Geographic about five years ago, and ever since has been fooling viewers into thinking it's a painting, rather than a photograph.  The altered perspective of a telephoto lens positioning the trees against a sunset-illuminated giant sand dune is really quite  startling.  I had to search for a while to find a more prosaic view: Credit Martin Heigan.   Other images here and here.  The trees are sometimes described as being "petrified."  I doubt whether that's technically correct; they certainly are desiccated.

Black tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica is cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, where it is often used as a specimen or shade tree.

Tropical trees

The skyscraping kapok’s yards-wide trunk, covered in wrinkled gray bark, rises and bends like a colossal elephant leg frozen midstep...

Puhala tree seed pod

Photo via Teachings of Reason and Radiolab, neither of which provide credit re the original photographer and source.  I think I tracked it to colleeninhawaii.

You can see why it's called a "bloodwood" tree

"The bloodwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis) is a deciduous, spreading and slightly flat-crowned tree with a high canopy.

The "urban forest" of Minneapolis

American Forests offers a list of "The Ten Best Cities for Urban Forests" in the United States.  Among them is my old stomping ground: Minneapolis can now add the credential of having one of the top urban forests.

"One could do worse than be a swinger of birches"

  YouTube link. WHEN I see birches bend to left and right Across the line of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging them.

The world's tallest palm trees

These are wax palms (palma de cera), photographed in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Alex Treadway for National Geographic.

Pruned by the wind

A curiously-shaped tree in Denmark, photographed by Marianne Kjolner.  The correspondence to the shape of the adjacent house reflects the pruning effects of near-constant wind on the coast.

The Rainbow Eucalyptus

This tree is also grown for ornamental purposes, due to the showy multi-coloured streaks that cover the trunk.

With malus for everyone

The apple and crabapple trees (malus sp.) were in full this past week at the university's arboretum, and in our front yard.  When the blossoms fall, I get a sense of how conquering emperors might have felt walking down a path strewn with flower petals.

Hatton Garden heist

When I read that the burglars at the Hatton Garden vault robbery had gone through a concrete wall, I imagined men with sledgehammers.  This photo of the crime scene is mind-boggling.  That's 20 inches of concrete.