We continue our journey around the world in search of the most unusual trees. Today we will visit the tropics and subtropics of Africa, Australia and South Africa, the United States of America. Enjoy watching!
Dragon tree or Dracaena draco (Dracaena draco) is one of the most famous plants that grows in the tropics and subtropics of Africa. Trees up to 15–20 meters high look like a mushroom with a green hat. This unusual tree is also called Tenerife Dragon Tree, Canarian Dracaena, Canarian Dragon Tree, and the Great Russian Encyclopedia calls this plant "one of the most bizarre trees in the world."
Since ancient times, the dragon tree has been the source of the so-called "dragon's blood" ("dragon's blood") – a resinous juice of a bright red color that is released from plants when the bark is cut (also from felled trees). It is odorless and tasteless, soluble in acetic acid and other organic solvents. It is used in folk medicine and for tinting wines, as well as for the manufacture of varnish for metal surfaces. Dragon blood contains the pigments dracocarmine and dracorubin.
The dragon tree is cultivated as an ornamental plant, including as an indoor plant, it belongs to the so-called "green-leaved" types of dracaena.
It was previously believed that the lifespan of some plants of this species reaches 5-6 thousand years, however, according to modern ideas, the age estimate of old dragon trees was greatly overestimated, but it is not known exactly.
Dragon trees usually begin to bloom between 8 and 11 years of age, but some trees first bloom much later – at 25-30 years. The plant does not bloom every year, but once in about 14-17 years. The fruits of the dragon tree are orange-colored berries, they are edible and taste like cherries.
Jacaranda (Jacaranda) is an amazing plant, in the genus of which there are about fifty species. For its flowering characteristics, jacaranda is called the "violet tree". In most cases, these are large or medium-sized evergreen trees, growing mainly in the tropical and subtropical zone. Most of them are from South America, in particular Brazil.
Many species of jacaranda are grown as ornamental plants – especially the species Jacaranda mimosifolia (mimosifolia jacaranda).
In most cases, these are large or medium-sized shrubs or trees from 5 to 20–30 meters high. Jacaranda flowers usually come in all sorts of bluish and lilac hues, but there are also species with white and purple flowers. The blue jacaranda is cultivated in almost all parts of the world where there is no danger of freezing.
Jacaranda blooms only once a year (in October-November) for about two weeks. The trees take on an absolutely fantastic look – the spectrum varies from bright blue to light lilac.
In the small town of Grafton in the Australian state of New South Wales, the jacaranda bloom is even dedicated to a whole festival called “Jacaranda Season”. In the second half of October, the jacaranda-lined streets and parks of this town look like something out of a dream, with the trees in full bloom.
The largest population of jacaranda is located in the capital of South Africa – Pretoria. More than 70 thousand of such trees grow here. They are planted along the edges of the streets, as well as in the parks and gardens of the city. In this regard, Pertoria is called the "City of Jacaranda".
And in the Republic of South Africa there is a real cult of jacaranda. One of the largest plantations of jacaranda is located in the city of Johannesburg of this country. Here, this amazing plant can be found in almost every yard, it is planted along the streets, in parks, near office buildings and shopping centers.
The mammoth tree, also known as the big tree, wellingtonia, giant sequoia or giant sequoia (giant sequoia) is so named because of the resemblance of its huge hanging branches to mammoth tusks. These huge trees can reach a height of up to 100 meters with a trunk diameter of 10–12 meters. Some of the living trees are estimated to be 3500 years old.
Giant sequoias were widespread in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the Cretaceous and in the Tertiary period, now only about 30 groves have survived, located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California, USA. It is sequoiadendrons (and not just sequoias) that can be seen in Sequoia National Park.
The famous giant sequoia "General Sherman" (last two photos above), growing in the "Giant Forest" of the Sequoia National Park in California, USA, has a height of 85 meters (as of 2018) and contains 1487 m³ of wood, its weight is estimated at 1910 tons (estimated in 1938), age – 2300-2700 years. It is believed that this is the largest tree and the heaviest living organism on the planet.
Sequoiadendrons as ornamental plants are bred in many countries of the world with a suitable climate: they grow well in England, where they were brought back in the middle of the 19th century, as well as Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and other parts of Europe. On the territory of the former USSR, sequoiadendrons grow well only in regions with not very severe winters – in the south of Crimea, Central Asia (when watered), on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Transcarpathia.
Fluffy Japanese maple
Japanese maple (downy Japanese-maple), or Amur maple, or full moon maple, is a variety of maple that grows in Japan on the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and also in southern Korea. But we found these amazing specimens not in Japan, but in the USA – in the Portland Japanese Garden. This garden is a beautiful piece of Japan, it is recognized as the best example of a traditional Japanese garden that has been created outside of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Fluffy Japanese maple grows up to 5–10 meters (rarely up to 15 meters) in height. In autumn, the leaves of the tree become very colorful – from bright orange to dark red.
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