palm trees

Trees, Leaves and Tall Plants

Trees have existed on Earth for 370 million years. Varieties and species of trees grow almost everywhere in every world, even in some frigid Arctic regions.

The oldest known tree species is the Methuselah tree, a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva). The only place to find the Methuselah tree is in the White mountains of California. Tree rings show these trees to be neary 5,000 years old. Methuselah trees are stunted with gnarled trunks and branches

The shortest tree is the Dwarf Willow (Salix herbacea) which grows in the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere.

The tallest trees are California state redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and can grow to be a whopping 300 feet tall on average. One redwood, called Hyperion was discovered in 2006 and stands at 379.7 feet tall. Sequoia redwoods usually live from 500 to 700 years. Some, however have been found to be as old as 2,000 years.

The Giant Sequoia is the largest tree in the world. Sequoiadendron giganteums are oldy found California's Sequoia National Park. The largest sequoia gigantus is called General Sherman which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old. Some trees are thought to be over 3,220 years old.

Rarest tree: The Guinness Book of Records lists the Three Kings kaikomako (Pennantia baylisiana) among the world's rarest tree. One solitary Three Kings kaikomako tree was discovered in 1945 living on a scree slope in the Three Kings group off Cape Reinga, New Zealand. At time of discovery there was only one tree in existence due to over grazing by goats imported to the island. Seeds are collected and planted now to keep the tree species alive.

Some tree species cluster within a country or specific habitat, others live virtually everywhere in the world. The most common trees include:

  • Red Alder (Alnus rubra)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
  • White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
  • American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)
  • American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)
  • Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)
  • White oak (Quercus alba)
  • Common Ash – Fraxinus Excelsior, European ash
  • Aspen – Populus Tremula
  • Silver Birch – Betula Pendula
  • Sessile Oak – Quercus Petraea
  • Sweet Chestnut – Castanea Sativa