TOP TEN TREES

Our Fall Winter 2020 collection Treehugger: Tales of the Forest was inspired by some of the oldest, biggest, and most beautiful things on Earth: trees.
From stately giants to familiar fictional heroes, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite ten trees, to brighten your day.

 

 

1. Wood’s Cycad, or Encephalartos woodii


This tree has been called the world’s loneliest tree, and here’s why: during the Jurassic, it covered much of the Earth, making up almost 20% of all plants, but today, it is the last of its kind.


It was discovered by British botanist John Medley Wood in 1895, growing on a hillside, on the coast of South Africa. He removed a small part of it, and shipped it home to live in London’s Kew Gardens.


Medley went on expedition after expedition trying to find another like it, though he, and others after him, never did.
It has remained at Kew for the last 120 years, where you can go and see it for yourself.
2. The Methuselah Tree, or Pinus longeva


Even though, two weeks ago, we dedicated an entire story to this particular tree, it is still deserving of a place on the ‘best of trees’ list. It is, after all, the oldest of them all, as well as the oldest living thing on Earth, period.


In a way, its story is similar to E-woodii: when it was found, its discoverer, Edmund Shulman, could not have had any way of knowing just how unique it was. Which leads us to think- perhaps Methuselah and E-woodii found the two men- not the other way around.
3. Grandmother Willow


This tree needs little introduction, but just in case: Grandmother Willow is the talking tree in Disney’s classic Pocahontas film. She is the personification of wisdom, and Pocahontas’s greatest moral support.


Toward the beginning of the movie, the heroine goes to her to seek advice about a recurring dream. Grandmother Willow tells her to “Listen- all around you are spirits, they live in the earth, the water, the sky. If you listen, they will guide you. Listen with your heart, you will understand.”


Though the Disney adaptation is ultimately a romanticised narrative of a historical account, Grandmother Willow’s words still ring true.
4. The Rainbow Eucalyptus, or Eucalyptus deglupta


This special sub-family of the common Eucalyptus tree is native to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. When it sheds, it first eveals electric hues of green, then blue, orange, purple, and maroon as it matures.


Today, they can be found in Hawaii and in the southern regions of California, Texas, and Florida, but only grows as tall as its highest 75 meters in its native rainforests.
5. The General Sherman Tree


Found in California’s Sequoia National Park is the world’s largest tree: the General Sherman Tree. It is not per se the tallest tree in the world, but by volume, it is the largest.


While the story of how it got its name is debated, park rangers say the man who found the tree back in the 1870’s, a Civil War veteran, named it after another man he admired: the general under whom he fought, General Sherman.


A lesser-known version also credits another group with a very different name for the gargantuan tree. Supposedly, a nearby Socialist colony christened it the Karl Marx tree. When the park was established in 1890, you can guess which name they chose.
6. Ents, or Onodrim (Tree-host)


Here’s another fictional giant for the list: JRR Tolkien’s Ents, the anthropomorphic trees from the Lord of the Rings saga. Some of the oldest creatures in Middle Earth (is anyone still reading?), these trees were brought to life by a god-like entity in order to prevent tree felling, and to act as the “shepherds” of the forests, protecting them against all manner of evil.


If you came to the Lord of the Rings through Peter Jackson’s epic film adaptations, you may recognise these tree-people from the second instalment, when they save two mischievous Hobbits from certain death in the dangerous Fangorn Forest.
Even if you’re not a fantasy fan- who wouldn’t want to be cradled by trees, and taken for a walk around the forest?
7. The Chandelier Tree


This California icon is one of the only three remaining drive-through trees in the state. Over 2500 years old and still attracting visitors around the world, the famous redwood was carved in 1937 to create a two-meter-square tunnel.


Today, we know better than to cut a hole through an ancient tree, but back then, ‘big-tree tourism’ was booming, and landowners were quick to monetize their backyards by encouraging photo-ops and souvenir trade.
8. The Giving Tree


If you grew up in the United States, or an English speaking household, you will be familiar with this children’s picture book by Shel Silverstein. It tells the story of a child, who befriends a lone-standing tree.


As the boy grows older and more demanding, the tree gives up all its resources to ‘make him happy’, until one day, when he returns as an old man, and the tree cannot offer anything but its stump for him to rest on.


It’s a moving story, and one of the most enduring children’s books ever written.
9. The Dragon Blood Tree, or Dracaena cinnabari


About 100km off the shore of Africa in the Indian Ocean is a small island named Socotra. It boasts some of the world’s most spectacular plant and animal species, many of which are only found there. Like these trees, known as Dragon Blood Trees, for their bright, thick, red sap.


Though they can live to be thousands of years old, these are fated to be another casualty of global warming, as rising climates contribute to stronger storms which can uproot the young saplings, preventing the trees from growing at all.
10. Full Grown Trees


We’ve thrown in a special tree to top off the list: the trees grown and shaped by British company Full Grown. Full Grown makes some of the lowest carbon furniture on the market- instead of growing trees to to later fell and work them, they gently- and very slowly- bend them into the shapes of chairs, lamps, and more as they grow.


If you want one for yourself, you’ll have to wait- but until then, you can visit their ‘chair orchard’ in Wirksworth, England.




Some of the trees in this list are at risk today, as fires continue to ravage huge sections of the American South West- over a million acres so far. The conservation and protection of forests and woodlands are a pressing concern for us at PHIPPS, which is why we teamed up with Smokey Bear for our FW20 collection- 10% proceeds from Smokey Bear items goes directly to the USDA Forest Service. Please continue to shop responsibly.