FUN FACTS ABOUT TREES
Trees are everywhere and they are very useful to us. But they are also beautiful to behold and they can live for hundreds of years. Here are some fun facts about trees:
- Trees are great for wildlife! For example, the common English Oak can support hundreds of different species, including 284 species of insect 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 pigs, jays, pigeons, pheasants, ducks, squirrels, mice, badgers, and deer.
- 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.
- 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).
- Water and nutrients travel up the tree trunk, through the branches and all the way out to the leaves.
- Plants that aren’t quite tall enough to be considered trees are often called shrubs.