Fascinating Trees

 

One of the more interesting things about studying trees is looking at the different and often amazing ways of differing size, shape, bark, color, and form, etc. that trees take as they adapt to various conditions in their environments. All trees basically have the same structure of a root system, trunk, and canopy.  Although Vermilion trees follow this pattern, there are many trees throughout the world that have a great variance in size, age, mass volume, height, and root system as they adapt to their particular habitat.

One very interesting tree that has an almost unbelievable shape is the Banyan Tree.  Its dangling aerial root systems creates a virtual forest of trees as it grows from a single trunk.  It is quite an impressive sight to see. As it grows, the canopy can expand over acres of land. The banyan is native to India and Pakistan, but has been planted in tropical zones worldwide.

The banyan tree has a aa very different physiology as far as its growth is concerned.  It begins as a seed borne by wind or a bird into a crevice of bark in in a larger tree.  As the banyan grows and develops, it eventually encompasses the host tree, blocking sunlight to the host tree’s leaves and eventually kill the tree.  The banyan continues to grow, spreading its limbs into a greater canopy.  Here’s the interesting thing, though.  As the branches grow and expand, they send down aerial roots where they take root in the soil and also grow.  These aerial or support roots not only support the extending branches, but begin to form another banyan tree, still connected to the main tree.  This canopy continues to grow and forms the largest tree in terms of canopy size.  The crown can grow to cover up to 4 acres of land and have a circumference of almost a mile.

The largest and most banyan trees grow in India, where they take on religious and social values as well as national pride.  One banyan near Calcutta is one of the largest in the world.  It covers over 3½ square acres and has a crown circumference of almost 2/3 of a mile.  Another large banyan called Thimmamma Marrimanu has a spread covering over 5 square acres and contains over 1,000 aerial roots.

Banyan trees are not native to the U.S., but they do grow in Florida.  The largest banyan tree in Florida grows at the Edison and Ford Winter Homes Estate in Ft. Myers.  Other trees can be found in downtown Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Clearwater Beach, Miami area, and other locations.  If you’re in southern Florida, try to look up one of these trees.  They certainly are a fantastic, tree-mendous tree.

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Vermilion Tree Commission by contacting Anne Maiden at the Mayor’s Office at annemaiden@vermilion.net or at 440-204-2402.  You are also cordially invited to attend our monthly Tree Commission meeting which is on the second Wednesday of the month. The Tree Commission will meet at the Ritter Public Library on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at 7:00 PM

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