10 Most Magnificent Trees that seem Magically Unreal
Trees are often likened to wise men- old beings going about their work selflessly and quietly for the greater good. But trees are not necessarily dull; nature has graced our planet with some very unusual, fascinating and beautiful trees too! In this article, we will explore some of these exquisite & unique trees from around the world and why they feature in our list of “Magnificent trees”.
The first trees on Earth appeared about 400 million years ago and since then, have undergone myriad natural transformations to adapt to their changing environments. The earliest vegetation was no taller than waist height but started attaining greater heights due to constant evolutionary pressure. The advantage of height was two-fold: 1) It enabled them to harvest more sunlight for photosynthesis and 2) They could spread better as seeds could be blown to greater distances if they started higher. This quest for height and survival gave rise to tree structures.
Over time, they’ve played a vital role in shaping Earth’s ecosystem in numerous ways- providing habitat and food for innumerable animals and birds, regulating temperature, cleaning the air and reducing pollution to name a few. Owing to this, trees are perceived to be utilitarian assets of nature. However, like many other things in nature, trees can be quite interesting and mesmerizing too. The following trees are just some examples of unusual and amazing trees that exemplify nature’s beauty and diversity.
Most Unique & Beautiful Trees of the World
PC: Laura Camp
1 Bristlecone Pine (Western US)
Bristlecone pines are long-lived trees that grow in isolated groves in harsh environments and bad soils, where it’s almost impossible for other plant species to grow. Strangely, in friendlier environments, they fare poorly and this makes them hard to cultivate. Because of cold temperatures, dry soils, high winds and short growing seasons, they grow at a very slow pace. Their wood is dense and extremely durable, which prevents them from rotting and contribute to their longevity. They are known for attaining great ages; the oldest one is more than 5000 years old, making it the oldest known individual tree in the world!
PC: France Lanting
2 Deadvlei (Namibia)
Deadvlei is an area within the Namib Desert in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. As the history goes, the nearby Tsauchab river flooded, which allowed camel thorn trees to grow. But about 900 years ago, the climate dried up which led to drought and the consequent sand dunes cut off this area from the river. The trees died in the absence of water but it was so dry that their wood could not decompose. Instead, their skeletons became scorched by the sun and turned black. By the way, the orange background in the picture is actually the sand dunes, which are among the highest in the world, reaching up to 300-400 meters!
PC: Flickr @jwilsonnorton
3 Rainbow Eucalyptus (Hawaii, Philippines, Papua New Guinea)
The Rainbow Eucalyptus (also called Mindanao gum) is a tall, evergreen tree that grows in tropical forests and is the only species of eucalyptus that is indigenous to the northern hemisphere. The most striking and distinct feature of Rainbow Eucalyptus is its multi-colored bark. Patches of the outer bark peel off annually at different times, showing a green inner bark, which then matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. Since this process happens in strips, it results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue and gray!
PC: Stephen Emerson
4 Dark Hedges (Ireland)
This gorgeous and enchanting avenue of beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century to impress guests who visited their home. Over a period of 2 centuries, the upper branches of the trees intertwined to form the picturesque and haunting natural cathedral. One of the most photographed natural phenomena in Ireland, this magical place has also been used as a filming location in the famous series Game of Thrones!
PC: Michael Matti
5 Japanese Maple Tree in Portland (USA)
Japanese maple is a species of woody plants native to Japan, China, Korea, eastern Mongolia and southeast Russia. They are grown worldwide though for their attractive forms and spectacular colors. Reaching about 10 meters in height, they take on a hemispherical or dome-like shape when they mature. The Japanese maple tree at Portland’s Japanese Garden, a 5.5 acre showplace, is particularly striking because in the autumn season, the tree becomes painted with flamboyant colors, making it seem like a fairytale illustration!
6 Tree of Life (Bahrain)
The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) in the desert nation of Bahrain is a remarkable mesquite tree and featured in this list purely for its survival capability. This 400-year old tree stands alone in a barren desert with no apparent water source in its vicinity and it has never been watered either. Now, mesquite trees are known to adapt well in arid conditions with rainfall as low as 150mm annually because of their deep and massive root system. What makes the Tree of Life remarkable is the absence of any other vegetation around it and that it looks healthy with fresh, green leaves! The mystery behind its survival has led to legends such as it being the location of the Garden of Eden.
PC: Oleg Znamenskiy
7 Dragon Blood Tree (Yemen)
Socotra Island in Yemen is a biodiversity jewel with 700 endemic species of flora and fauna, found nowhere else on Earth. The dragon blood tree is a highlight of Socotra with its unique umbrella-shaped appearance. This evergreen species is so called due to its dark red resin (called dragon’s blood) secreted when cut. Its unusual shape is a survival mechanism in the arid conditions with low amounts of soil as it provides shade and reduces evaporation. It is used as a medicine, dye, varnish and incense. An interesting legend around it is that these trees were born from bloodshed in a battle between an elephant and a dragon!
8 Bonn Cherry Blossom Avenue (Germany)
Heerstrasse is a street in the German city, Bonn, that attracts numerous photographers every spring, usually in mid-April. The reason- cherry blossom trees in their full bloom that transforms the narrow street into a pink, gorgeous sea of flowers. These ornamental Japanese cherry blossom trees were planted in the 1980s and for 2-3 weeks every spring, the street is vibrant with these blooming blossoms, making it a very popular and amazing destination.
9 Avenue of the Baobabs (Madagascar)
Avenue of the Baobabs is a striking landscape comprising of a cluster of baobab trees, which are up to 800 years old. The baobab trees are a legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived in Madagascar but regular deforestation has left only about 20-25 of these trees. The distinctive feature of baobab trees is their massive cylindrical trunks, about 3 meters across, with flat-topped crowns. They reach up to 30 meters in height and during certain times of the year, the crowns bear bluish-green leaves and spectacular dark-brown flowers with white petals.
PC: Yonekura Keisuke
10 Wisteria in Ashikaga Flower Park (Japan)
Wisteria are flowering vines that are native to Eastern US, China, Korea and Japan. Called Fuji in Japan, the 144-year-old Wisteria vine in Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan is one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world. Looking like a glorious late evening sky with dashes of pink and purple, it is the largest wisteria vine in Japan and covers about half an acre. It is held up on steel supports and visitors can walk below its canopy in the pink and purple light cast by the hanging blossoms. It is not the largest in the world though- that distinction belongs to Sierra Madre (California), which covers more than 1 acre and is about 120 years old.