About nine years ago the largest and most revered tree in Taiwan - the "Alishan Sacred tree" - fell.
“To pass down the legacy of the now fallen Alishan Sacred Tree, the Forestry Bureau, Chiayi County Government, and the Tourism Bureau co-organized the “Balloting Campaign for Alishan Sacred Tree II,” through which this giant tree received most votes and was thus given the name ‘Alishan Sianglin Sacred Tree’ on January 1, 2007.”
Species: Taiwan Red Cypress
Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum
Age: About 2,300 years old
About nine years ago the largest and most revered tree in Taiwan - the "Alishan Sacred tree" - fell.
This is an old image of a felled Redwood tree that I do not know the history behind or the date. The image itself tells most of the story. About a hundred men, a few women and a team of horses posing with a recently felled giant redwood tree. If you look closely the horses are up on top of the felled tree!
I assume that the people in this picture have something to do with the felled tree. Perhaps they are all employees of the logging company that cut the tree down. They seem somewhat proud of their achievement. I wonder what was going through their minds as they watched one of the planets largest living monuments come crashing down? Judging from this picture it looks to me like this may have been one of the biggest trees of all time.
Does this picture tell a tale of man conquering nature or man destroying nature? Somehow I don´t think this is what God had in mind when he gave Adam and Eve (mankind) dominion over the world he created.
In Tokyo, near Aoyama there is a street that is lined with large Ginkgo trees. Both sides of the sidewalk on both sides of the street are lined with these magestic trees making for a total of four rows of trees. When the trees are in their full autumn colors it makes for a very dramatic and enchanting scene.
This large and unique Sitka Spruce tree is located on the Oregen Coast at Cape Meares near the Cape Meares Lighthouse State scenic viewpoint. Rather that forming a single trunk this tree has grow forming multiple trunks in a "Candelabra" fashion with each of the individual trunks being pretty much equal in size. The reason tree formed this way is probable due to the strong coastal winds that may have damaged the tree when it was young and causing its branched to grow out as trunks.
A sign at the base of this tree reads...
"This giant old, Sitka Spruce did not develop int a masive single trunked tree as most Spruce trees do along the Oregon Coast. The candelabra branching and unusual size of this Spruce tree were formed by strong coastal winds and the sheltered hollow of its location. Each of the six candelabra limbs are at least 12 feet around and extend horizontally from the main trunk as much as 30 feet before turning upward."
This cluster of fat trunked trees is located in a Park, opposite Ala Moana Center, midway between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu in Hawaii. They are not however native Hawaiian trees! It turns out that they are Baobab trees! The Baobab tree is native to Africa and is usually seen in rather arid areas and with no leaves. It is said that these trees were a gift to one of the last monarchs of Hawaii.I´ve heard of these trees being called the "Dead rat tree" for the look and shape of their fruit which some say looks like a dead rat hanging from the tree.
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a connection between old Yew trees and churches in England? Well, here is another example of an old Yew tree in the church yard of St. Mary & St. Peter´s in Wilmington. The tree is estimated to be over 1,600 years old, which means that it predates the church by a good many years.
The national co-champion Sitka Spruce tree split and broke off about 80ft off the ground in a recent storm (Dec. 2, 2007). At 204 feet tall it was the tallest Sitka Spruce in North America and a co-champion with the Sitka Spruce of the Quinault National Forest (see previous post). Located just of Hwy 26 between Portland and Seaside the giant tree was a popular attraction visited by more than 100,000 people each year. The tree had been weakening of late and forestry officials knew that it was coming to and end when a large section of the tree was knocked off in a storm revealing a rotted interior.
This large Holm Oak (Encina in Spanish) is located along a popular mountain bike route that is in fact the trajectory of an old set of train tracks that has been converted into a "Via Verde" (a green path). This particular stretch runs from Puerto Serrano to Olvera. This large Holm oak makes for a nice resting area for the bikers.
This Yew tree in Scotland is believed to be around 5000 years old. It is not only the oldest tree but also the oldest living thing in Europe. It stands now behind a protective wall in the cemetary of a church.
The sign below reads...
Rooted in History
"Before you stands Europe´s - and possibly even the world´s oldest living thing. Under the dark veil of needles are two relic trunks of a huge, ancient yew tree. Scholars believe the roots of this great survivor coil back some 5000 years. The markers show you the size fo the original evergreen giant in 1769 when it had a girth of over 56 feet (17m). Sadly, it attracted souvenir hunters who removed large sections. Children then lit fires inside the hollow trunk and funeral
processions passed through its midst. Eventually, this wall had to be built to stop the tree disappearing altogether."
From Here to Eternity
"Before the arrival of Christianity, the yew was known as the "tree of eternity", and it´s easy to see why. At about 500 years old - long after most other trees have died - the yew starts to grow again. This "otherworldly" power meant early peoples revered the yew, and the tree marked their places of worship. Little wonder then that when early Christianity came to Fortingall in the
7th century they decided to build their new church next to the anciant yew."
Looking at the eroding rock and the long living Bristlecone Pine one has to wonder who will outlive the other. Bristlecones are known to live more than 4000 years in the right conditions. What will this canyon look like in another 1000 or so years? You can already see how much of the tree roots have been exposed by the eroding canyon. This image was taken along Peekaboo Loop Trail
Not too far off the highway that leads form the "Costa del Sol" up to the old city of Ronda there is a large old Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo) that is called the "Pinsapo de la Escalereta". It is the largest of this rare fir species. The mountain range where the last remaining virgin forest can be found is called the "Sierra de las nieves" (Snow mountains). The area has been declared a biosphere reserve to protect the Spanish fir and its ecosystem.
This ancient Phoenicean Juniper is a famous tree on the Spanish island of "El Hierro" (name means Iron). The word Sabina is Spanish for Juniper. This tree is the most well known of many Juniper trees on the island that have been deformed by the constant wind. According to the locals there used to be large numbers of Junipers on the Island but because their wood was prized for making tables, stools, torches etc they were cut down and used until only the most deformed ones were left. These were not cut because their shape made them not very usable.
This 900 year old tree is a "Loricato" or "Bosnian Pine" (Pinus leucodermis) located in the Pollino National Park in Italy. This national park is the last reserve of this rare tree species. I believe that this particular tree is known localy as "il grande vicchio".
The Cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) is a very strange looking tree. Its trunk is covered with vine looking branches that wrap around the tree in a tangled web. Beautiful and exotic looking flowers grow on these branches. The fruit when it devolops have the shape of large balls the size of cannonball and thus the name.
In Spanish the name of the Beech tree is "Haya" and the word "Hayedo" means Beech forest. Near the town of Montejo (about an hour drive north of Madrid) there is a famous "Hayedo" or Beech forest. Apart from the fact that it is a very beautiful forest in its own right with the feel of being enchanted in spring and autumn it´s main claim to fame is that it is the southernmost oldgrowth beech forest in Europe. They say that Beech trees used to grow much more extensively throughout Spain but that over the centuries the changing climate slowly drove them north. Farther north from Montejo it is not uncommon to find "Hayedos".
In the town of Baamonde, Galicia (Spain) there is a very old Chestnut tree with a small chapel in its trunk!
The hollow has been converted into a niche (a place where small statures of the Virgin Mary or other saints are kept) Inside there are several small statues carved from wood taken from the inside of this same tree. The carver was Victor Corral.
This picture gives all new meaning to the term tree house! Some say this tree was once a small Banyan tree planted beside a study hall. When the owner of the building left never to return the tree eventualy overgrew the structure with is aerial roots and trunks. The tree is now known as the Kam Tin Tree House.
Below is another view where you can see the bricks from the original structure entangled in the web of roots.
" Cathedral Grove is a rare and precious surviving stand of ancient Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) located on Vancouver Island in the far western Canadian province of British Columbia (BC)." from www.cathedralgrove.se
Visit the Cathedralgrove.se website for more information (and some incredible images) on this old growth forest.
This is a large Douglas Fir tree in the MacMillan Provincial Park, near Parksville (Vancouver Island, Canada). The tree has an estimated age of 800 years and is 76 meters (249 feet) tall. It is 9ft across at the base and has a circumference of nine meters (29.5 feet)
This is a very large Sweet Chestnut tree (Castanea Sativa) located up in the mountains above San Pedro de Alcantara in southern Spain. It is a rather difficult tree to find if you are not familiar with the area. There is a rough dirt road that starts at the backside of a golf course in San Pedro. Once you are on the right dirt road it is about an one hour of very slow driving (or hiking if you are up to it). The best way seems to be to go by Quad or dirt bike. About 20km up the dirt road you come to a sign and another dirt road where you turn left and go down about 200 yards to the tree following some signs. The Sacred Chestnut is in a stand of old growth trees that include some very large Oaks (most of which are Cork Oaks). The day I visited this tree I scared out a wild pig that was feeding on acorns under the Cork Oaks. The Sweet Chestnut is the tree that edible Chestnuts grow on.
"In 1938 the Federal Government in Washington DC agreed, after a long bettering from conservationists, to carve out a national park 3000 miles away on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. This saved from the loggers four rain-swept river valleys, rich in old growth forests - the Bogachiel, the Hoh, the Queets, and the Quninalt. But, as so often happened in the Pacific north-west, on both sides of the Canadian-US border, the boundaries of the new park were deliberately designed to exclude much of the best old-growth forests.
The Nolan Creek cedar grew in the heart of an ancient forest west of the park. less than 30 years ago, loggers were licensed by the state to clear-fell the whole area. When the chainsaw reached this western read cedar (Thuja plicata) and people realized that it was the third largest red cedar in the world (it's 178 feet tall with a volume of 15,300 cubic feet) even the loggers' spirits failed. Generously they agreed to preserve this single tree - worth, they say, the huge sum of $25,000.
And there is stands today. If the loggers hoped the tree would show their hearts were in the right place, they knew little about trees. Of course the giant could not survive the fierce winds of the clearcut. First the mosses and lichens, then the tree itself, began to die. Now it is a bleached skeleton with few living branches. There is a message there, I am sure, that the public can not miss. How futile is it to make this mean sort of compromise, rather than saving the whole watershed . . . Imagine trying to preserve this king of the forest, when all his kingdom lies in ruin. Soon his bones, too, will lie at Nolan Creek."
"Remarkable Trees of the World"
This very large gnarly, old Western Red Cedar is located near kalaloch, Washington in the Olympic National Forest. The tree is impresive both for its great size and for the "Ent" like look of its twisted and gnarled trunk.
This tree is known as the Kalaloch Cedar.
another view of this tree
The Kalaloch Cedar, just off Highway 101 in the Olympic National Park
A sign at this tree reads…
“Western redcedar has been the art and sinew of coastal Indian village life. The trunk is house plank and ocean-going canoe; branches are harpoon line; outer bark is diaper and bandage; inner bark is basket, clothing and mattress. Tree size expresses climate – heavy annual rainfall, and the nourishing damp of ocean fog. In a scramble for growing space other tree species are using the cedar as a standing nurselog.”
A sign by this tree reads…
“This now hollowed out stump with “nurse trees” growing from the crevices of its woody skeleton was once a thriving cedar tree. At one time its girth measured 18.3 meters (60 feet). In the early 1900´s this site was a very popular location for photographs either with horses & buggies backed into the hollow or those newfangled contraptions, automobiles!”
below is an old photograph of this same tree taken in 1897 by William Notman
Sign at the base of this tree reads...
KANJI KANJI KANJI
"General Grant the eighteenth president of the United States planted this Himalayan cedar when he visited Zojoji temple as a national guest in 1879."
tree species - Cedrus deodora
I like this image of trees on a French mountainside above Aussois because of how it captures so many different tones of green. So often when you see a picture of a forest all the trees are pretty much the same tone of green. This image has a very pleasant blend of greens that give the picture an almost 3D quality.
A sign at the base of this tree reads…
“In the middle of Evercreech Forest Reserve lives the tallest white gum in the world standing 91 meters. The tree (Eucalyptus Viminalis) has shocked scientists from all over the over. They have refused to believe that this species could reach such a height. The tree was ans still is the pride of the Evercreech Forest Reserve. In the 1940´s and 50´s was the first reprieve of those trees as they couldn´t be extracted by bullock teams which were the common methods at those times. So the white gums were saved! The need for sawlogs in the 1970´s and the advent of bulldozers a road was built to the base of the big tree. Local forester Des Howe was carrying out a routine inspection of the logging operation when he realised the tree which was about to be felled was exceptionally tall. “Des, in fact, ordered its second reprieve, and a surveyor was called in to accurately measure the height o fthe tree and two others nearby”. It was an amazing process a shotkgus was used to collect seed capsules and bark. Leaves were taken to prove it was actually a white gum. Botanists had to be convinced by Forestry Commission that they were in fact Eucalyptus viminalis. The tallest tree was 91 meters to its tallest point which was well above any other limit of that species. After being confirmed it was considered the area should become a reservation. In 1977 52 hectares became a reserve. We believe this tree is more than three hundred years old!”
These trees are referred to localy as the "White Knights"
For more than 1200 years there has been a tradition of "flower viewing" in Japan, often referred to as "Sakura" which means "Cherry Blossoms". Every year a great deal of attention is given to the prediction and tracking of the Cherry blossom "front" as the blossoming period moves steadily from south to north. As I recall there was quite a row this last year as several of the Meteorological Agencies were a few days off in their predictions. It seems that a lot of people plan their visits to Japan in order to be able to witness and celebrate the Sakura.