Simply put trees are amazing. They are the oldest living things on earth, they sustain life giving oxygen, purify the air, give clues to the past and are key in supporting life to animals. Without trees, life would not exist. While there are many interesting facts about trees; we have boiled them down to include some things you may not know about, and even some facts specific to Oregon trees. Read on to learn 7 amazing facts about trees you should know ranging from product uses to crime prevention.
Used a pair of rubber gloves lately? That’s right, a certain species of rubber tree make latex gloves, balloons, mattresses, catheters and swim caps. Directly from the tree it comes out as a thick or thin, creamy white substance that is processed down to make latex/rubber products. There are other species whose rubber bi-product are used in gum. Latex is one of the most widely used products today, aren’t trees amazing!
Oregon must be filled with Christmas cheer, because Blue River, Oregon houses the largest (measuring approximately 160 feet tall) Douglas Fir tree to be decorated with over 50,000 lights every holiday season. This must be one beautiful sight to behold. Rockefeller center has nothing on Oregon.
In 1971 Apollo 13 mission launched with Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Rossa. Shepard and Mitchell walked the moon while Rossa orbited above. Rossa was a former U.S. Forest Service worker as a smoke jumper, who took 450 tree seedlings with him on his mission. Once back on earth the seed containers burst in the decontamination process. The seeds were thought to be no longer viable. Despite this, Rossa sent the seeds all over the country to forestry departments to be planted. Unbelievably, 420 of the 450 germinated, growing strong. There are 5 moon trees in Oregon 1) Douglas Fir in Roseburg Oregon at Veteran’s Memorial Hospital 2) Douglas Fir in Corvallis Oregon at OSU (Peavy Building) 3) Douglas Fir in Salem Oregon at the Capital Building 4) 2 Douglas Firs at a Private Residence in Salem Oregon. Click here to read more about space trees.
From 2005 to 2007, the U.S. Forest Service studied the correlation of crime and tree size right here in Portland, Oregon. Findings suggest areas with larger trees experienced less crime than areas with smaller trees.The study determined trees serve as a symbolic safeguard. Neighborhoods and homes with large trees are viewed to be better up kept while adding a protective quality than those without. Additionally, the study found that smaller trees may increase hiding opportunities for criminals looking for the chance to sneak up on a residence. Plant those trees!
Manchineel tree is native to Florida, Mexico, South America, Central America and the Bahamas. It is know for it’s little poison apples and skin burning capabilities. If you were to stand under a manchineel tree in the rain, the drops hitting the tree, could burn your skin. It has been known to peel paint off a car. Also, burning this tree can result in severe ocular damage including blindness.
Never get lost in the woods again! Trees give us clues to direction, even in the deepest forests. In the northern hemisphere trees reach for the light. Try to look for a tree as isolated as possible to get the most accurate direction. The south side of the tree may be thicker and look as if it’s pulling to one side. The branches on the south side are fuller and longer. The north side of a tree has thinner, weaker branch structure. This would be a great day adventure to take your children on! Take a compass with you and see if they can figure out the direction and verify their findings with a real compass.
Birch trees have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal purposes. Birch trees are known for the detoxifying benefits, working primarily on the liver and urinary system. The sap has a sweetness to it and has been used to make beer, wine and syrup. There are many trees and shrubs that can be used medicinally. If you get curious about what native northwest plants can be used for click here to view a comprehensive list.