What's the best tree ever

Botany: 10 impressive trees from all over the world

Really large trees are rare today, they are the quickest victims of the saw. But the giants still exist. We introduce some of the giants - and also a few of the oldest, rarest and thickest specimens that nature has to offer.

In German this species is also called long-lived pine (Pinus longaeva) - which absolutely hits the core. Because the oldest known specimens of the species are more than 4850 years old and are still alive. A tree is said to have reached 5070 years (reported in 2012), but this value is not yet confirmed. The home of Pinus longaeva extends over various mountain regions in California, Utah, and Nevada. The stocks in the Californian White Mountains became world famous. That is where the Methusalems grow. Fortunately, the long-lived pines are of no economic importance, ecologically they often form the upper tree line in their habitat.

This article is contained in Spectrum Compact, Temperate Forests - The green lungs of our latitudes

With an estimated 1400 to 1600 years, the Árbol del Tule is also impressively old, but significantly younger than the western awning pine. Instead, this specimen of the Mexican bald cypress stands out (Taxodium mucronatum) due to its trunk circumference and diameter of 46 and 14 meters respectively, which makes the cypress the thickest tree on earth. It is located in Santa María del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and is also one of the most weighty creatures on the planet. Its weight is estimated at around 630 tons. The tree was supposedly planted by a priest of the Aztec god Ehecatl.

Here in the country is the lucky chestnut or pachira (Pachira aquatica) best known as an evergreen ornamental plant that is grown in pots. It is widespread in the tropical swamps of Latin America, where the trees can grow up to 18 meters high. Its flowers are considered outstanding: They are among the largest tree blossoms on earth and probably attract bats as pollinators. Lucky chestnuts produce nut fruits that are considered edible, but in animal experiments quickly led to the death of the (few) rats used. Enjoyment is therefore not recommended.

Deep in the rainforest of the Danum Valley in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo is an area that contains some of the tallest trees on earth - and the new world record holder among rainforest trees. A yellow meranti tree (Shorea faguetiana) reaches a height of 100.8 meters there, as a team of scientists led by Alexander Shenkin from the University of Oxford and Unding Jami from the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership found with the help of various methods - including Jami climbed into the giant's crown to help him to be measured as precisely as possible. This kind is probably the highest growing flowering plant (defined in the narrower sense) at all; According to the current state of knowledge, only conifers will get bigger. Because of their size, however, they are also a popular target for woodcutters: Unfortunately, yellow meranti trees are often sawn down for plywood or cladding.

One of the great attractions of the Seychelles is the Seychelles palm (Lodoicea maldivica) or Coco de Mer. It grows in damp valleys and on the slopes of the two islands of Praslin and Curieuse - and has probably the largest seeds in the plant kingdom, which some are reminiscent of a well-shaped buttocks. For a long time it was thought that the seeds could float in the sea, but that is wrong: the shell is so dense that the seeds sink; only the actual content is buoyant when the sound has rotted away. However, it is no longer capable of germination if it has been in salt water for a long time. This could explain the limited distribution on two islands.