Strange Trees: the World's Atlas of arboreal wonders

Jun 17, 2016 | written by:

Have you ever heard of the Strangler Tree? The Bubblegum Tree? The Upside-Down Tree? How about trees with horns, bottles, sausages, crowns, and ones that walk or even explode? They must be from a Disney movie but they are all real, they are located around the world and they are true artworks created by Mother Nature.

'Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them' is the book of French author Bernadette Pourquié and illustrator Cécile Gambini that talks about trees, the oldest living things on earth, through an illustrated tour of the world's greatest arboreal wonders, from species that have witnessed the dinosaurs to exotic marvels like Brazil’s Walking Tree (Red Mangrove) and the the Philippines’ Rainbow Tree (Rainbow Eucalyptus) to procurers human delights, such as the sapodilla tree that gives us the chewing gum and the cocoa tree, without which there would be no chocolate. Alongside each illustration, partway between botany and fairy tale, there are some autobiographical pages of the respective trees that provide useful information including scientific names, common ones, the natural and cultural description of the habitat in a short first-person story fusing curious science facts, history and local customs.

The book also includes a world map showing where the different species are, inquiring about their characteristics. Here we would like to present you some of them:

Eucalyptus Deglupta, better known as the Rainbow Tree, is native to the Philippines but can also be found in New Guinea and in some islands of Indonesia and French Polynesia. What characterizes this tree is definitely its bark that offers incredible multi-colored shades for natutal reasons: every year, indeed, the outer bark parts are detached from the trunk, leaving out the bright green of the inside which darkens in contact with the air and then taking the features shades of blue, purple, red and brown.

 The Davidia Involucrata, also known as the Ghost Tree, is native to Asia and it is famous for the unique shape of its flowers, like pieces of fabric, which look like little ghosts hanging from the branches.

The Brachychiton rupestis is a tree native to the dryland of Australia also known as Bottle Tree because it has a sinuous trunk, which tends to widen the base, acting as a water reservoir.


The Sapodilla tree is a plant native to Southern Mexico and Central America also known as the Chewing Gum Tree because it yields the chicle (traditional ingredient of chewing gum), extracted from its trunk. It is famous for the precious wood and for its fruit, the sapodilla.



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