Skip To Content
    Posted on Sep 26, 2017

    Here Are 13 Facts That Prove That Trees Are Really Fucking Cool

    Plus, just really pretty pictures of trees.

    Unless otherwise noted, all facts are sourced from geobiologist Hope Jahren's memoir, Lab Girl. Besides being chock-full of tree facts, this is a beautifully written, inspiring story of Jahren's journey to become a scientist. Get it here.

    1. A single tree can exist in two places at once.

    Ablokhin / Getty Images

    Though it is rare, a fallen branch can become a trunk if it finds a place to root. Those two separate trees then share the exact same DNA.

    2. The roots of some trees can grow as deep as 100 feet into the ground.

    commons.wikimedia.org

    Found in Africa or the Middle East, the acacia tree's long roots tap into deep water sources, making it resilient against long droughts.

    3. A palm tree is technically not a tree.

    Borchee / Getty Images

    While trees are dicots, a palm tree is a monocot, which is more like a grass or a flowering plant. Palm trees are made of spongey tissue instead of rings of hardwood, and their leaves have parallel structures instead of a veiny sprouting structure.

    Woe is tree.

    4. Cactus spines are actually evolved leaves.

    Bobby Ware / Getty Images

    Just like leaves, spines collect and prevent water from evaporating, provide a bit of shade, and protect the cactus from predators.

    5. And some cactuses can come back from the dead, kinda.

    Ahmad Rafsanjani / Vimeo / Via vimeo.com

    "Resurrection plants" can shrivel up and close into a ball protected by their spines without growing for years. When the rain returns, they can return to full form and working order within 24 hours.

    6. Only 5% of the millions of seeds dropped ever begin to grow.

    Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

    And only 5% of that 5% survive their first year.

    7. Most seeds wait for at least a year to grow, but some can survive 32,000 years and still sprout.

    news.nationalgeographic.com

    Buried by a squirrel during the ice age, this flowering plant survived as an immature seed for 32,000 years before scientists found and germinated it.

    Read more about it on National Geographic.

    8. Mama trees share water with baby trees.

    Thutruong / Getty Images

    The sapling grows up close to the parent tree and receives the water that the parent doesn't need.

    9. Trees don't grow at the same rate.

    Wikipedia Commons

    "Within a pine forest, the thickest ten-year-old trunk is about four times thicker than the thinnest ten-year-old trunk," Jahren explains in the book.

    10. A vine can become whatever it needs to be to survive — they can turn into roots or grow suction cups.

    Getty Images

    The kudzu vine is especially capable. It can grow one inch each hour, cover entire forests, and can grow to be 100 feet long.

    11. Mushrooms attach to a tree's roots and help them draw water into the trunk.

    Smitt / Getty Images

    The two have a symbiotic relationship where the mushrooms help the trees grow and the trees share its sucrose with the mushrooms.

    12. A tree actually remembers experiences from its childhood.

    Flickr: 126610791@N07

    Trees that live in cold climates stop growing during fall in anticipation of the first frost. Trees that had been embryos during cold winters stop growing a few weeks earlier than the rest of the forest.

    13. Trees can "talk" to each other.

    Shakzu / Getty Images

    Trees in a forest can communicate danger through secretions from their roots, but they can also alert trees even farther away when they release "volatile organic compounds." They can even change those chemical compounds to send specific messages about the danger.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form