Trees are among the most versatile of the species inhabiting our beautiful planet. Imagine walking along a countryside, or in a scenic state park.. don’t those tall trees evoke happy, nostalgic memories? Trees can be found everywhere, right from the coldest of regions near the poles, to the hottest places along the equator.
In fact, they are said to be over a 100,000 different species of trees in the world! But the tropical rain forests is where one can find the most varied collection of these exquisite species. And they do vary quite a bit from one another. In fact, they are classified into several groups based on their varied shapes and sizes – like broad and needleleaf trees, cycads, ferns, gingko, lily and palm trees. Some trees, like the Redwood trees of Redwood National Park, are known to grow over 115 m (379 ft).
While others – like shrubs – don’t grow tall at all, but split to multiple stems just few meters above the ground, and branch out in different directions. And while some trees live for just a few years, others, like the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, are said to be dated back to at least 4800 years! How trees are useful to us humans, as well as the bird and animal life in daily sustenance, is no secret – right from providing us food, shelter, medicines and fuel, to their role in conservation, and much more. Fruits are one of the tastiest of foods one can enjoy from many of these trees. Trees growing in hotter climates provide us with tropical fruits like mangoes, grapefruits and oranges. While those growing in colder climates allow us to relish fruits such as apples and cherries. Nuts – like almonds, walnuts and even coconuts – are another of the popular foods that come from trees. In fact, there are probably not many food items that don’t have their origin in trees – including those daily foods which we take for granted, like coffee and chocolate! The medicinal value of the leaves, barks and roots of many trees is also well known and well accepted. And of course, wood, perhaps the most synonymous substance to trees in our minds, has been used in the construction of our homes since times immemorial. As are the trees themselves a place of abode for many birds and wild animals, deep in our jungles.