Some trees are fantastic for tree-houses. Some trees are not. Guess which classification this a single fits into?
It’s a conifer, and like all conifers will deliver no bouquets. Instead the seeds (and pollen) are developed on the scales of cone-like buildings — which can conveniently be known as “cones.” (“Strobilus” is the extravagant phrase for a cone.)
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Most conifers are evergreen: the northern Larch and our stately bald cypress are conifers, but these two drop all of their foliage each winter.
This week’s mysterious conifer (Monkey-puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana) is an evergreen species which will make a stout trunk if supplied enough time, and its substantial limbs will be adorned with relatively triangular leaves.
The limbs typically increase out of the trunk in rings, or whorls. Branches will be absolutely lined by the foliage, with the leaves overlapping just about every other all the way to the suggestion of the stem. The broad-based mostly leaf blades are very challenging, practically like challenging plastic, and they are pretty sharply pointed at their ends.
If that is not impressive plenty of, how about this: the margins of the leaf blades are sharp, practically like a knife blade. So, we could imagine that this would be a awesome tree to appear at, but not extremely superior for small boys or ladies to climb about in. No superior for tree-properties. Even for squirrels!
This unconventional plant is just one of about 20 closely related species, all native to the southern hemisphere. This distinct species occurs the natural way in forests of Chile and Argentina, where by it results in being a really tall tree, forming dense forests. The trees are either male or feminine, and of training course, it is the feminine trees that will make huge seed cones.
You can see this tree grown in botanical gardens and arboreta in numerous areas of the earth, like North America and Europe. The crops do properly in cultivation, as soon as proven, and seem to be to thrive in cool climates.
As you may assume, 1 of these trees with any sizing to it generates a great deal of interest, and dialogue. Some people assume the large, ropy branches look like the necks of scaly dragons, or dinosaurs. And, of system, these knife-like leaves get a good deal of respectful consideration.
There really is a connection with dinosaurs. This species, and its closest family, can be assumed of as “living fossils.” They demonstrate up in the fossil document for the duration of the Jurassic period, some 150 million (or so) yrs ago. Some of those people dinosaurs had fairly brontosaurus-sized appetites, and were fond of nibbling regardless of what vegetation — or every single other — occurred to be at hand.
For the salad-lovers, there have been a great deal of ferns and fern-like crops, lots of of which reached tree-sizing. Our Mystery Plant presumably developed its fearsomely prickly foliage as a way of deterring ravenous reptilian jaws. Of program, there aren’t a lot of dinosaurs for them to contend with now — but there are these pesky youngsters!
I took this photograph a few of decades ago although browsing all around in the “Palmengarten” in Frankfurt, Germany. What a superb botanical backyard garden!
John Nelson is the retired curator of the A. C. Moore Herbarium at the College of South Carolina in Columbia SC. As a public company, the Herbarium offers free plant identifications. For additional facts, check out www.herbarium.org or e mail [email protected]
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