Trees: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trees on a mountain in northern Utah during early autumn.
Trunk base of a Coast Redwood tree in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: Simpson Reed Discovery Trail, near Crescent City, California

A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance.[1] A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m[2] to 6 m;[3] some authors set a minimum of 10 cm trunk diameter (30 cm girth).[4] Woody plants that do not meet these definitions by having multiple stems and/or small size, are called shrubs. Compared with most other plants, trees are long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old and growing to up to 115 m (379 ft) high.[5]

Trees are an important component of the natural landscape because of their prevention of erosion and the provision of a weather-sheltered ecosystem in and under their foliage. They also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as moderating ground temperatures. They are also elements in landscaping and agriculture, both for their aesthetic appeal and their orchard crops (such as apples). Wood from trees is a building material, as well as a primary energy source in many developing countries. Trees also play a role in many of the world's mythologies (see trees in mythology).[6]



A tree is a plant form that occurs in many different orders and families of plants. Trees show a variety of growth forms, leaf type and shape, bark characteristics, and reproductive organs.

The tree form has evolved separately in unrelated classes of plants, in response to similar environmental challenges, making it a classic example of parallel evolution. With an estimate of 100,000 tree species, the number of tree species worldwide might total 25 percent of all living plant species.[7] The majority of tree species grow in tropical regions of the world and many of these areas have not been surveyed yet by botanists, making species diversity and ranges poorly understood.[8]

The earliest trees were tree ferns, horsetails and lycophytes, which grew in forests in the Carboniferous Period; tree ferns still survive, but the only surviving horsetails and lycophytes are not of tree form. Later, in the Triassic Period, conifers, ginkgos, cycads and other gymnosperms appeared, and subsequently flowering plants in the Cretaceous Period. Most species of trees today are flowering plants (Angiosperms) and conifers. For the listing of examples of well-known trees and how they are classified, see List of tree genera.

A small group of trees growing together is called a grove or copse, and a landscape covered by a dense growth of trees is called a forest. Several biotopes are defined largely by the trees that inhabit them; examples are rainforest and taiga (see ecozones). A landscape of trees scattered or spaced across grassland (usually grazed or burned over periodically) is called a savanna. A forest of great age is called old growth forest or ancient woodland (in the UK). A young tree is called a sapling.


Beech leaves.
Tree roots anchor the structure and provide water and nutrients. The ground has eroded away around the roots of this young pine tree.

The parts of a tree are the roots, trunk(s), branches, twigs and leaves. Tree stems consist mainly of support and transport tissues (xylem and phloem). Wood consists of xylem cells, and bark is made of phloem and other tissues external to the vascular cambium. Trees may be grouped into exogenous and endogenous trees according to the way in which their stem diameter increases. Exogenous trees, which comprise the great majority of trees (all conifers, and almost all broadleaf trees), grow by the addition of new wood outwards, immediately under the bark. Endogenous trees, mainly in the monocotyledons (e.g., palms and dragon trees), but also cacti, grow by addition of new material inwards.

As an exogenous tree grows, it creates growth rings as new wood is laid down concentrically over the old wood. In species growing in areas with seasonal climate changes, wood growth produced at different times of the year may be visible as alternating light and dark, or soft and hard, rings of wood.[3] In temperate climates, and tropical climates with a single wet-dry season alternation, the growth rings are annual, each pair of light and dark rings being one year of growth; these are known as annual rings. In areas with two wet and dry seasons each year, there may be two pairs of light and dark rings each year; and in some (mainly semi-desert regions with irregular rainfall), there may be a new growth ring with each rainfall.[9] In tropical rainforest regions, with constant year-round climate, growth is continuous and the growth rings are not visible nor is there a change in the wood texture. In species with annual rings, these rings can be counted to determine the age of the tree, and used to date cores or even wood taken from trees in the past, a practice is known as the science of dendrochronology. Very few tropical trees can be accurately aged in this manner. Age determination is also impossible in endogenous trees.

The roots of a tree are generally embedded in earth, providing anchorage for the above-ground biomass and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. It should be noted, however, that while ground nutrients are essential to a tree's growth the majority of its biomass comes from carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere (see photosynthesis). Above ground, the trunk gives height to the leaf-bearing branches, aiding in competition with other plant species for sunlight. In many trees, the arrangement of the branches optimizes exposure of the leaves to sunlight.

Not all trees have all the plant organs or parts mentioned above. For example, most palm trees are not branched, the saguaro cactus of North America has no functional leaves, tree ferns do not produce bark, etc. Based on their general shape and size, all of these are nonetheless generally regarded as trees. A plant form that is similar to a tree, but generally having smaller, multiple trunks and/or branches that arise near the ground, is called a shrub. However, no precise differentiation between shrubs and trees is possible. Given their small size, bonsai plants would not technically be 'trees', but one should not confuse reference to the form of a species with the size or shape of individual specimens. A spruce seedling does not fit the definition of a tree, but all spruces are trees.

Record breaking trees

The world's champion trees can be rated on height, trunk diameter or girth, total size, and age.


Tallest trees

The heights of the tallest trees in the world have been the subject of considerable dispute and much exaggeration. Modern verified measurements with laser rangefinders, other measuring devices, or with tape drop measurements made by tree climbers (such as those carried out by canopy researchers or members of groups like the U.S. Eastern Native Tree Society), have shown that some older measuring methods and measurements are often unreliable, sometimes producing exaggerations of 5% to 15% or more above the real height. Historical claims of trees growing to 130 m (427 ft), and even 150 m (492 ft), are now largely disregarded as unreliable, and attributed to human error. Historical records of fallen trees measured prostrate on the ground are considered to be somewhat more reliable. The following are now accepted as the top ten tallest reliably measured species:

  1. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens): 115.56 m (379.1 ft), Redwood National Park, California, United States[10]
  2. Australian Mountain-ash (Eucalyptus regnans): 99.6 m (326.8 ft), south of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia[11]
  3. Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii): 99.4 m (326.1 ft), Brummit Creek, Coos County, Oregon, United States[12]
  4. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis): 96.7 m (317.3 ft), Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, United States[13]
  5. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): 94.9 m (311.4 ft), Redwood Mountain Grove, Kings Canyon National Park, California, United States[14 ]
  6. Shorea faguetiana 88.3 m (289.7 ft) Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo
  7. Eucalyptus delegatensis 87.9 m (288.4 ft) Tasmania
  8. Koompassia excelsa 85.8 m (281.5 ft)
  9. Shorea argentifolia 84.9 m (278.5 ft) Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah
  10. Shorea superba 84.4 m (276.9 ft) Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah

However the Karri Eucalyptus diversicolor is known to reach 90m thus is most likely ranked at number six.

A view of a tree from below; this may exaggerate apparent height

Stoutest trees

The girth of a tree is usually much easier to measure than the height, as it is a simple matter of stretching a tape round the trunk, and pulling it taut to find the circumference. Despite this, UK tree author Alan Mitchell made the following comment about measurements of yew trees:

The aberrations of past measurements of yews are beyond belief. For example, the tree at Tisbury has a well-defined, clean, if irregular bole at least 1.5 m long. It has been found to have a girth which has dilated and shrunk in the following way: 11.28 m (1834 Loudon), 9.3 m (1892 Lowe), 10.67 m (1903 Elwes and Henry), 9.0 m (1924 E. Swanton), 9.45 m (1959 Mitchell). . . . Earlier measurements have therefore been omitted."

—Alan Mitchell; in a handbook "Conifers in the British Isles".[15]

As a general standard, tree girth is taken at 'breast height'. This is cited as dbh (diameter at breast height) in tree and forestry literature.[3][16] Breast height is defined differently in different situations, with most forestry measurements taking girth at 1.3 m above ground,[16] while those who measure ornamental trees usually measure at 1.5 m above ground;[3] in most cases this makes little difference to the measured girth. On sloping ground, the "above ground" reference point is usually taken as the highest point on the ground touching the trunk,[3][16] but some use the average between the highest and lowest points of ground. Some of the inflated old measurements may have been taken at ground level. Some past exaggerated measurements also result from measuring the complete next-to-bark measurement, pushing the tape in and out over every crevice and buttress.[15]

Modern trends are to cite the tree's diameter rather than the circumference. Diameter of the tree is calculated by finding the medium diameter of the trunk, in most cases obtained by dividing the measured circumference by π; this assumes the trunk is mostly circular in cross-section (an oval or irregular cross-section would result in a mean diameter slightly greater than the assumed circle). Accurately measuring circumference or diameter is difficult in species with the large buttresses that are especially characteristic in many species of rainforest trees. Simple measurement of circumference of such trees can be misleading when the circumference includes much empty space between buttresses.

One further problem with measuring baobabs Adansonia is that these trees store large amounts of water in the very soft wood in their trunks. This leads to marked variation in their girth over the year (though not more than about 2.5%[17]), swelling to a maximum at the end of the rainy season, minimum at the end of the dry season.

The stoutest living single-trunk species in diameter are:

  1. African Baobab Adansonia digitata: 15 m (49 ft), Sunland Baobab, Limpopo Province, South Africa.[18]
  2. Montezuma Cypress Taxodium mucronatum: 11.62 m (38.1 ft), Árbol del Tule, Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico.[19] Note though that this diameter includes buttressing; the actual idealised diameter of the area of its wood is 9.38 m (30.8 ft).[19]
  3. Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 8.85 m (29 ft), General Grant tree, Grant Grove, California, United States[20 ]
  4. Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens: 7.9 m (25.9 ft), Lost Monarch Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California, United States.
  5. Australian Oak Eucalyptus obliqua: 6.72 m (22 ft)
  6. Australian Mountain-ash Eucalyptus regnans: 6.52 m (21.4 ft), Big Foot
  7. Western Redcedar Thuja plicata: 5.99 m (19.7 ft), Kalaloch Cedar, Olympic National Park
  8. Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis: 5.39 m (17.7 ft), Quinalt Lake Spruce, Olympic National Park
  9. Alerce Fitzroya cupressoides: 5.0 m (16.4 ft)

An additional problem lies in instances where multiple trunks (whether from an individual tree or multiple trees) grow together. The Sacred Fig is a notable example of this, forming additional 'trunks' by growing adventitious roots down from the branches, which then thicken up when the root reaches the ground to form new trunks; a single Sacred Fig tree can have hundreds of such trunks.[1]

Largest trees

The coniferous Coast Redwood is the tallest tree species on earth.

The largest trees in total volume are those which are both tall and of large diameter, and in particular, which hold a large diameter high up the trunk. Measurement is very complex, particularly if branch volume is to be included as well as the trunk volume, so measurements have only been made for a small number of trees, and generally only for the trunk. No attempt has ever been made to include root volume. Measuring standards vary.

The top ten species measured so far are*:

  1. Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 1,487 m³ (52,508 cu ft), General Sherman[21]
  2. Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens: 1,203 m³ (42,500 cu ft), Lost Monarch[22]
  3. Montezuma Cypress Taxodium mucronatum: 750 m³ (25,000 cu ft), Árbol del Tule[23]
  4. Western Redcedar Thuja plicata: 500 m³ (17,650 cu ft ), Quinault Lake Redcedar[21]
  5. Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus: 368 m³ (13,000 cu ft), Rullah Longatyle (Strong Girl, also Grieving Giant) [24]
  6. Australian Mountain-ash Eucalyptus regnans: 360 m³ (12,714 cu ft), Arve Big Tree[24]
  7. Coast Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii 349 m³ (12,320 cu ft) Red Creek Tree
  8. Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis 337 m³ (11,920 cu ft) Queets Spruce
  9. Australian Oak Eucalyptus obliqua: 337 m³ (11,920 cu ft) Gothmog[24]
  10. Alpine Ash Eucalyptus delegatensis: 286 m³ (10,100 cu ft), located in Styx River Valley[24]

However, the Alerce Fitzroya cupressoides and the African Baobab Adansonia digitata, as yet un-measured, may well slot in the top five. Other Large tree's include the Cryptomeria japonica of China and the Eucalyptus jacksonii and Eucalyptus marginata of Australia.

(*)This list does not take into account now dead specimens.

Smallest Tree

Many fully grown mature trees may be very short due to environmental factors or disease. However healthy and well grown specimens of a few species of tree only reach a height of a few centimetres. Amongst these is Lepidothamnus laxifolius believed to be the shortest conifer in the world.

Oldest trees

The oldest trees are determined by growth rings, which can be seen if the tree is cut down or in cores taken from the edge to the center of the tree. Accurate determination is only possible for trees which produce growth rings, generally those which occur in seasonal climates; trees in uniform non-seasonal tropical climates grow continuously and do not have distinct growth rings. It is also only possible for trees which are solid to the center of the tree; many very old trees become hollow as the dead heartwood decays away. For some of these species, age estimates have been made on the basis of extrapolating current growth rates, but the results are usually little better than guesswork or wild speculation. White (1998)[25] proposes a method of estimating the age of large and veteran trees in the United Kingdom through the correlation between a tree's stem diameter, growth character and age.

The verified oldest measured ages are:

  1. Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Methuselah) Pinus longaeva: 4,844 years[26]
  2. Alerce Fitzroya cupressoides: 3,622 years[26]
  3. Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum: 3,266 years[26]
  4. Sugi Cryptomeria japonica: 3,000 years[27]
  5. Huon-pine Lagarostrobos franklinii: 2,500 years[26]

Other species suspected of reaching exceptional age include Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba (over 3,500 years[28]), European Yew Taxus baccata (probably over 2,000 years[29][30]) and Western Redcedar Thuja plicata.

The oldest reported age for an angiosperm tree is 2293 years for the Sri Maha Bodhi Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa) planted in 288 BC at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka; this is also the oldest human-planted tree with a known planting date.


El Grande, about 280 feet high, the most massive (though not the tallest) Eucalyptus regnans was accidentally killed by loggers burning-off the remains of legally loggable trees (less than 280 ft) that had been felled all around it.

The two major sources of tree damage are biotic (from living sources) and abiotic (from non-living sources). Biotic sources would include insects which might bore into the tree, deer which might rub bark off the trunk, or fungi, which might attach themselves to the tree.[31].

Abiotic sources include lightning, vehicles impacts, and construction activities. Construction activities can involve a number of damage sources, including grade changes that prevent aeration to roots, spills involving toxic chemicals such as cement or petroleum products, or severing of branches or roots.

Both damage sources can result in trees becoming dangerous, and the term "hazard trees" is commonly used by arborists, and industry groups such as power line operators. Hazard trees are trees which due to disease or other factors are more susceptible to falling during windstorms, or having parts of the tree fall.

The process of evaluating the danger a tree presents is based on a process called the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment.[32]

Assessment as to labeling a tree a hazard tree can be based on a field examination. Assessment as a result of construction activities that will damage a tree is based on three factors; severity, extent and duration. Severity relates usually to the degree of intrusion into the TPZ and resultant root loss. Extent is frequently a percentage of a factor such as canopy, roots or bark, and duration is normally based on time. Root severing is considered permanent in time.

Trees are similar to people. Both can withstand massive amounts of some types of damage and survive, but even small amounts of certain types of trauma can result in death. Arborists are very aware that established trees will not tolerate any appreciable disturbance of the root system.[33] However, lay people and construction professionals are seldom cognizant of how easily a tree can be killed.

One reason for confusion about tree damage from construction involves the dormancy of trees during winter. Another factor is that trees may not show symptoms of damage until 24-months or longer after damage has occurred. For that reason, persons uneducated in arboriculture science may not correlate the actual cause and resultant effect.

Various organizations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture, the British Standards Institute and the National Arborist Association (about 2007 renamed the Tree Industry Association), have long recognized the importance of construction activities that impact tree health. The impacts are important because they can result in monetary losses due to tree damage and resultant remediation or replacement costs, as well as violation of government ordinances or community or subdivision restrictions.

As a result, protocols for tree management prior to, during and after construction activities are well established, tested and refined. These basic steps are involved:

  • Review of the construction plans
  • Development of the related tree inventory
  • Application of standard construction tree management protocols
  • Assessment of potential for expected tree damages
  • Development of a tree protection plan (providing for pre-, concurrent, and post construction damage prevention and remediation steps)
  • Development of a tree protection plan
  • Development of a remediation plan
  • Implementation of tree protection zones (TPZ)
  • Assessment of construction tree damage, post-construction
  • Implementation of the remediation plan

International standards are uniform in analyzing damage potential and sizing TPZs (tree protection zones) to minimize damage. For mature to fully mature trees, the accepted TPZ comprises a 1.5-foot set-off for every 1-inch diameter of trunk. That means for a 10-inch tree, the TPZ would extend 15-feet in all directions from the base of the trunk at ground level.

For young/small trees with minimal crowns (and trunks less than 4-inches in diameter) a TPZ equal to 1-foot for every inch of trunk diameter may suffice. That means for a 3-inch tree, the TPZ would extend 3-feet in all directions from the base of the trunk at ground level. Detailed information on TPZs and related topics is available at minimal cost from organizations like the International Society for Arboriculture.

Trees in culture

The tree has always been a cultural symbol. Common icons are the World tree, for instance Yggdrasil, and the tree of life. The tree is often used to represent nature or the environment itself. A common misconception is that trees get most of their mass from the ground.[34] In fact, 99% of a tree's mass comes from the air.[34]

Tree value estimation

Studies have shown that trees contribute as much as 27% of the appraised land value in certain markets.[35]

Basic tree values (varies by region)[36]
(1985 US$)
10 $1,729
14 $3,388
18 $5,588
26 $11,682
30 $15,554

These most likely use diameter measured at breast height, 4.5 feet (140 cm) above ground—not the larger base diameter. A general model for any year and diameter is Value = 17.27939*( diameter ^2)*1.022^( year -1985) assuming 2.2% inflation per year.[37] (Note, the right side of this equation is written to paste into Excel or Google to perform the calculation.) Extrapolations from any model can cause problems, so tree value estimates for diameters larger than 30 inches might have to be capped so trees do not not exceed 27% of the total appraised property value.

See also



  1. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  2. ^ Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mitchell, A. F. (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-212035-6
  4. ^ Utkarsh Ghate. "Field Guide to Indian Trees, introductory chapter: Introduction to Common Indian Trees" (RTF). Retrieved 2007-07-25.  
  5. ^ Gymnosperm Database: Sequoia sempervirens
  6. ^ Going Out On A Limb With A Tree-Person Ratio, Morning Edition, National Public Radio. 12 Nov 2008.
  7. ^ "TreeBOL project". Retrieved 2008-07-11.  
  8. ^ Friis, Ib, and Henrik Balslev. 2005. Plant diversity and complexity patterns: local, regional, and global dimensions : proceedings of an international symposium held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen, Denmark, 25-28 May, 2003. Biologiske skrifter, 55. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. pp 57-59.
  9. ^ Mirov, N. T. (1967). The Genus Pinus. Ronald Press.
  10. ^ "Gymnosperm Database: Sequoia sempervirens". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "Hyperion, Redwood National Park, CA, 115.55 m"  
  11. ^ "Tasmania's Ten Tallest Giants". Tasmanian Giant Trees Consultative Committee. Retrieved 2009-01-07. "Height (m): 99.6; Diameter (cm): 405; Species: E. regnans; Tree identification: TT443; Name: Centurion; Location: south of Hobart; Year last measured: 2008"  
  12. ^ "Gymnosperm Database: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "The Brummit Fir: Height 99.4 m, dbh 354 cm, on E. Fork Brummit Creek in Coos County, Oregon; in 1998"  
  13. ^ "Gymnosperm Database: Picea sitchensis". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "This tree also has a sign nearby proclaiming it to be 'the world's largest spruce'. The two tallest on record, 96.7 m and 96.4 m, are in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California"  
  14. ^ "Gymnosperm Database: Sequoiadendron giganteum". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "The tallest known giant sequoia is a specimen 94.9 m tall, first measured August 1998 in the Redwood Mountain Grove, California"  
  15. ^ a b Mitchell, A. F. (1972). Conifers in the British Isles. Forestry Commission Booklet 33.
  16. ^ a b c Hamilton, G. J. (1975). Forest Mensuration Handbook. Forestry Commission Booklet 39. ISBN 0-11-710023-4.
  17. ^ Fenner, M. 1980. Some measurements on the water relations of baobab trees. Biotropica 12 (3): 205-209.
  18. ^ "Big Baobab Facts". Retrieved 2008-01-08.  
  19. ^ a b Gymnosperm Database: Taxodium mucronatum
  20. ^ "Gymnosperm Database: Sequoiadendron giganteum". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "the General Grant tree in Kings Canyon National Park, CA, which is 885 cm dbh and 81.1 m tall"  
  21. ^ a b "Gymnosperm Database: A Tale of Big Tree Hunting In California". Retrieved 2007-06-10. "Sequoiadendron giganteum is 1489 m³, Sequoia sempervirens 1045 m³, Thuja plicata 500 m³, Agathis australis ca. 400 m³"  
  22. ^ Prof Stephen Sillett's webpage with photogallery including: a general gallery, canopy views, epiphytes, and arboreal animals.
  23. ^ ENTSTrees - Árbol del Tule
  24. ^ a b c d [1]. "Tasmanian Giant Trees Register". Forestry Tasmania.  
  25. ^ White, J. (1990). Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain. Forestry Commission Edinburgh.
  26. ^ a b c d Gymnosperm Database: How Old Is That Tree?. Retrieved on 2008-04-17.
  27. ^ Suzuki, E. 1997. The Dynamics of Old Cryptomeria japonica Forest on Yakushima Island. Tropics 6(4): 421–428. Available online
  28. ^ The Ginkgo Pages. Retrieved on 2009-01-11.
  29. ^ Harte, J. (1996). How old is that old yew? At the Edge 4: 1-9. Available online
  30. ^ Kinmonth, F. (2006). Ageing the yew - no core, no curve? International Dendrology Society Yearbook 2005: 41-46 ISSN 0307-332X
  31. ^ Wiseman, P. Eric, Integrated Pest Management Tactics, Continuing Education Unit, International Arboricultural Society Vol 17, Unit 1, February 2008
  32. ^ Ellison, M. J. Quantified Tree Risk Assessment Used in the Management of Amenity Trees. Journal Arboric. International Society of Arboriculture, Savoy, Illinois. 31:2 57-65, 2005
  33. ^ Schoeneweiss, D.F., "Prevention and treatment of construction damage", Journal of Arborculture 8:169
  34. ^ a b Jonathan Drori on what we think we know | Video on
  35. ^ "Protecting Existing Trees on Building Sites" p.4 published by the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, March 1989, Reprinted February 2000
  36. ^ "How Valuable Are Your Trees" by Gary Moll, April, 1985, American Forests Magazine
  37. ^ based on 1985 to 2009, using NASA inflation calculator


  • Pakenham, T. (2002). Remarkable Trees of the World. ISBN 0-297-84300-1
  • Pakenham, T. (1996). Meetings with Remarkable Trees. ISBN 0-297-83255-7
  • Tudge, C. (2005). The Secret Life of Trees. How They Live and Why They Matter. Allen Lane. London. ISBN 0-713-99698-6

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

Trees are perennial woody plants.


  • The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
  • I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
  • There is, I conceive, scarcely any tree that may not be advantageously used in the various combinations of form and color.
    • Gilpin
  • He plants trees to benefit another generation.
    • Caecilius Statius, Synephebi
  • Every society needs individuals who will go on planting mango trees, without thinking whether they will get to eat the fruits or not.
    • Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
  • The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful, and the ennobling in man.
  • Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.
  • Since humans first utilized wood for fire, tools and utensils, certain trees have held a special significance as both practical providers and powerful spiritual presences. The specific trees varied between different cultures and geographic areas, but those held to be 'sacred' shared certain traits in common - unusual size or beauty, the wide range of materials they provided, unique physical characteristics, or simply the power of the tree's spirit could grant it a central place in the folklore and mythology of a culture. Even today, certain trees capture our imagination. The majestic oak, the ancient yew, the evergreens we bring into our homes each winter - all are reminders of the power that trees can have in our lives.
    • Jennifer Smith, Sacred Woods and the Lore of Trees
  • It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
  • "I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."
  • "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
  • "I turned my face more exclusively than ever to the woods, where I was better known."
  • If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
  • Of the infinite variety of fruits which spring from the bosom of the earth,
    the trees of the wood are the greatest in dignity.
    • Susan Fenimore Cooper
  • I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
  • Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.
    • Joyce Kilmer, Trees
  • I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree.
    Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
    I'll never see a tree at all.
  • People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do. They cherish every one. It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone's backyard ... You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument, not about board feet of lumber.
    • Roger Swain
  • Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.
  • Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
  • A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.
  • It is good to know the truth, but it is better to speak of palm trees.
    • Arab proverb
  • A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
  • A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.
    • Deng Ming-Dao
  • It's one thing not to see the forest for the trees, but then to go on to deny the reality of the forest is a more serious matter.
    • Paul Weiss
  • The forests are the flags of nature. They appeal to all and awaken inspiring universal feelings. Enter the forest and the boundaries of nations are forgotten. It may be that some time an immortal pine will be the flag of a united peaceful world.
    • Enos A. Mills
  • Do not be afraid to go out on a limb ... That's where the fruit is.
  • He that plants trees loves others beside himself.
  • He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.
  • Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut, that held its ground.
  • The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now. Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree.
    • Anonymous
  • The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
    • Genesis 1:12
  • Thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life).
    • Deuteronomy 20:19
  • "Happy is the man ... his delights is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither."
    • Psalms 1:1-3
  • "The angel cried with a loud voice, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees."
    • Revelation 7:3
  • The tree is a centered creature, for its energies are radial. Its roots and branches spread wide, laying a circular network around the bole. The tree lives at both ends; the trunk and the leaves reach up to light and air; the roots stretch down to earth and water. The roots are essential. Leaves and branches fall, the trunk may be severed, but if the roots are not destroyed there is hope for most trees of continuing life. The power is in the roots – the symbol of life.
    • Meinrad Craighead
  • The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.
    • Moliere
  • A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
    whose flower and fruitage is the world.
  • Life without love is like a tree without blossom and fruit.
  • If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches on the same tree.
    • W.B. Yeats
  • "Sometimes Thou may'st walk in Groves,
    which being full of Majestie will much advance the Soul."
    • Thomas Vaughan, Anima Magica Abscondita
  • And see the peaceful trees extend
    their myriad leaves in leisured dance—
    they bear the weight of sky and cloud
    upon the fountain of their veins.
    • Kathleen Raine, Envoi
  • Ghosts of the world-wood: the trees are felled,
    Stumps; puny saplings which replace them
    will outgrow me and then outlive me.
    • Michael Vince, The Thicket
  • "A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself."
  • "By the grey woods, by the swamp, where the toad and newt encamp, by the dismal tarns and pools, where dwell the Gouls. By each spot the most unholy, by each nook most melancholy, there the traveller meets, aghast, sheeted memories of the Past. Shrouded forms that start and sigh, as they pass the wanderer by. White-robed forms of friends long given; In agony, to the Earth - and Heaven."
  • He that planteth a tree is a servant of God, he provideth a kindness for many generations, and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.
    • Henry Van Dyke
  • Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.
    Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.
    • Hal Borland, Countryman: A Summary of Belief
  • Trees are the best monuments that a man can erect to his own memory.
    They speak his praises without flattery, and they are
    blessings to children yet unborn.
    • Lord Orrery, 1749
  • "...and heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls of spirits passing through the streets"
    • P.B. Shelley, Ode to Naples
  • In a moment the ashes are made, but the forest is a long time growing.
  • A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
    • Elton Trueblood
  • I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, travelling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!
  • Going to the woods is going home.
  • The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.
  • Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body."
  • When walking through a warm and lush forest setting one's thoughts can easily take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find one's more subtle or primitive beginnings. Somewhere from deep within the spirit and majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves transported to a world of shadow and shade.
    • Morgan La Fey, Sacred Trees
  • Trees purify the air; they also purify the mind…if you want to save your world, you must save the trees.
    • The Trees of Endor
  • The best friend of earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.
  • Government cannot close its eyes to the pollution of waters, to the erosion of soil, to the slashing of forests any more than it can close its eyes to the need for slum clearance and schools.
  • A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral.
  • The individual whose idea of developing the country is to cut every stick of timber off it and then leave a barren desert for the homemaker who comes in after him...that man is a curse and not a blessing to this country.
  • When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. ... the White people pay no attention. ...How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? ... everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore.
    • Wintu Woman
  • Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed, chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in place of old trees — tens of centuries old — that have been destroyed. It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods, — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ's time — and long before that — God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods, but he cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.
  • "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools."
  • What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
  • Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.
    • Bill Vaughan
  • They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.
    • James G. Watt
  • People who will not sustain trees will soon live in a world that will not sustain people.
    • Bryce Nelson
  • A tree is a tree - how many more do you need to look at?
  • I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun: If there is no sun, then we cannot exist. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals.
  • Trees can reduce the heat of a summer's day, quiet a highway's noise, feed the hungry, provide shelter from the wind and warmth in the winter. You see, the forests are the sanctuaries not only of wildlife, but also of the human spirit. And every tree is a compact between generations.
  • At first I thought I was fighting to save the rubber trees; then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.
    • Chico Mendes
  • Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow them.
    • Chateaubriand
  • Reforesting the earth is possible, given a human touch.
    • Sandra Postel and Lori Heise
  • Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, and the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
    • Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
  • We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.
    • Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Regrets, 1896
  • A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for posterity.
    • Alexander Smith
  • Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
    • Cree Indian saying
  • I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
    I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
  • That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted, that I may refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore.
    • Egyptian tomb inscription, circa 1400 BC
  • Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good
    • Sara Ebenreck
  • Forests were the first temples of the Divinity, and it is in the forests that men have grasped the first idea of architecture.
    • François-René de Chateaubriand
  • You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
    • Saint Bernard, Epistle
  • Build your nest upon no tree here, for ye see that God hath sold the forest to death.
    • Samuel Rutherford, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 206.

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

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Trees may refer to:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also trees


Proper noun


  1. A female given name, a pet name diminutive of Theresia.


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