In 2008, a rare and unusual palm was discovered in remote Madagascar. Hailed as the most important new species of its kind, the tree made headline news—not for its notable survival, but for its spectacular demise. If the Tahina spectabilis had an epitaph, it would read "The gigantic palm that flowered itself to death."
Recent discoveries show that plant roots do much more than carry food and water upward; our notes from the underground talk about the latest discoveries in root science and discoveries. Or as Michele Owens writes "plant roots are arguably the Huffington Posts of the [plant] realm—aggregating the players, reacting to the news, and shaping the conversation to benefit themselves."
A fine specimen in a long line of great American roadside attractions, the Tree Circus is a curious orchard that included a birdcage, ladder, spirals, a telephone booth, and a staircase, all fashioned from the pliable branches of birch, ash, elms, and weeping willows. Started in the 1950s in California, the Tree Circus is a neat botanical version in a long history of wacky Californian attractions, including tar pits, dinosaur parks, and the mystery spot.
The loneliest tree in the world was a solitary acacia in a remote land. It was the only tree in a 400 kilometer radius. Standing alone in the vast Saharan expanse, l'Arbre du Ténéré (the Tree of Ténéré), was modest in size—three meters tall—but its mere survival was both remarkable, and invaluable to desert travelers.
There's a bar carved inside the world's largest baobab tree, in the Limpopo province of Modjadjiskloof, South Africa. With room for 50 patrons to sit and have a drink, one might say that what happens in the baobab, stays in the baobab.