In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.
TRIVIA AND FACTS
Every state has an official Tree. The Official state tree of Pennsylvania is the Hemlock (Source). The conifer tree is in the pine family, and got its name because when you crush its needles, you get a similar smell to the unrelated poison hemlock (Source).
Forests cover 30% of the planet’s surface. 45% of carbon stored on land are tied up in forest. In Philadelphia, the forest coverage is quite a bit lower, but we’re still lucky enough to have a lot of green spaces including Fairmount Park, which is home to a variety of tree species and plant life!
A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. That’s what makes them such important resources for everyone! Source: Arbor Day Foundation.
On average 6 million trees are planted each year in the U.S. That’s a whole lot of new growth! Our arborists are proud to have contributed to a small portion of those plantings. Source
Most trees can absorb as much as 48 lbs of carbon Dioxide per year! They’re basically nature’s air purifiers. Source
Trees have been in existence on the plant for 370 million years. Source
Giant sequoias – Sequoiadendron giganteum are the world’s largest living thing by volume and the world’s largest single trees. Source
Trees are more than just part of our natural landscape. They provide shelter and food for wildlife. They absorb carbon dioxide and produce breathable air. And one of the best things about trees is that they add to the beauty of the world.
Here are some of our favorite tree facts, enjoy!
Trees are the longest living organisms on Earth, and never die of old age. The Old List is a database of ancient trees that officially tracks old trees, their species, and location. Methuselah, from California’s White Mountains, comes in at over 4,800 years old.
Just like humans, trees need water to survive–and they drink a lot of it. In a single day, a large tree can consume 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air as oxygen and water vapor. Keep in mind that many conditions play a role such as the size of the tree, species of the tree, humidity, temperatures, sun exposure, etc.
Strategically planting trees and shrubs can save you up to 25 percent on your energy bills. Not only do they provide shade in the summer, but serve as a windbreak in the winter, too. (Get more information on smart landscaping.)
“Moon trees” were grown from seeds taken to the moon in early 1971. After orbiting the earth with the Apollo 14 mission, these tree seeds returned to earth and were germinated by the Forest Service. After being planted with their earth-bound counterparts, these seedlings showed no discernible difference after twenty years of growth.
Trees are able to communicate and defend themselves against attacking insects. Scientists have found that trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics when the insects begin their raid. They can also signal danger to other trees so they can start their own defense.
Trees can help you find your way if you get lost in the woods. In northern temperate climates, moss will grow on the northern side of the tree trunk, where there is more shade. Also, a tree’s rings can help point you in the right direction too. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you can see the rings of the tree grow slightly thicker on the southern side since it receives more sunlight. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true, with rings being thicker on the northern side.
Pine trees grow on six of seven continents, with Antarctica being the only one left out.
Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
If a birdhouse is hung on a tree branch, it does not move up the tree as the tree grows.
Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rainwater and protecting aquifers and watersheds.
The different parts of a tree grow at different times throughout the year. Typically, most of the foliage growth happens in the spring, followed by trunk growth in the summer and root growth in the fall and winter.