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80 Wonderful Trees


BBC science environment writers say there are over 60,000 species of trees in the world. Jonathan Drori has chosen 80 to highlight in his book. Trees impress me. They provide food, shade. medicine, homes, lumber firewood and oxygen renewal, and they do so quietly, without complaint or the need to be recognized.

Consider the argan tree of Morocco. Many of us know of argan oil- did you know it comes from seeds that grow inside the nut of this tree? Given the amount of argan oil in beauty products worldwide, there must be an incredible number of trees to collect from.

Banyan trees in India begin life in a drop of fertilizer provided by a bird, bat or monkey and can grow outward in extraordinary ways. The record holders each cover more than 4 acres and are about one half mile around.

In sub-Saharan Africa lives the baobab which is so strange in appearance that legend has it the baobab thought so much of itself that the Creator threw it in upside down- the roots seem to be up in the air. Able to store thousands of litres of water in the trunk it's very popular with elephants who rip off pieces to quench their thirst. During a life of up to 2,000 years sometimes the trunk centre becomes hollow and historically has been used for shelters, bars or temporary prisons.

There's are 77 other fascinating biographies in this book, just a tiny fraction of tree species on the planet we call home.