Severn Valley News
Did you know …….
Wood must be one of humanity’s oldest natural resources. It has helped keep us safe, comfortable and warm for millions of years. But trees graced our beautiful blue planet long before our ancestors were a twinkle in the universe’s eye.
We’ve used wood for so long that most of us don’t really ‘see’ it any more. It’s part of the cultural scenery. But in the same way the starry night sky amazes us with its eternal vastness, looking at a tree with fresh eyes brings its miraculous nature back into focus: enormous, powerful plants whose origins lie way back in the depths of geological time, some of which live literally thousands of years.
Here are a few interesting facts about trees …
- The world’s shortest tree is the dwarf willow, which lives in northerly and Arctic Tundra regions and rarely grows more than a couple of inches high.
- The tallest trees can grow as high as 100 metres, more than 320 feet. They include the Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Sitka Spruce and Australian Mountain Ash.
- The world’s tallest living standing hardwood tree is a mountain ash called Centurion in Tasmania. It’s about 329 feet 8 3/4 inches high.
- The mighty Giant Sequoia is thought by many to be the biggest living organism in the world.
- The world is home to more than 23,000 different kinds of trees.
- The plane tree, common in London’s streets, is excellent at absorbing pollution and sheds its bark regularly so it can absorb more. Just one tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Balsa, though seemingly soft, is actually a hardwood!
- Softwoods come from gymnosperm trees (evergreens), while hardwoods come from angiosperm trees (deciduous types).
- Softwoods account for about 80% of the world’s timber production.
- Trees grow from the top, not the bottom. Watch for 100 years and you’ll notice the branches only move a few inches up the trunk as the tree grows.