Trees are an integral part of human existence. They do essential jobs like filter our air so that we can breathe clean oxygen and not all that gross carbon we are so good at putting into the atmosphere. On almost every continent, there is an important and historic tree.
The Cotton Tree in Sierra Leone is one such famous tree in Africa. It stands near historic Freetown. Freetown was once the stage for war against slavery; Black Loyalists and British troops fought here, over the right to claim slaves from this African land. In 1792, Britain lost, and the Loyalists prevailed. The Cotton Tree is a symbol of this freedom. Rising around it, is the Supreme Court building, a music club, and a museum; all testaments to Sierra Leone’s past, present, and future.
Moving over to Asia, you will find Thimmamma Marrimanu, in India. Recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest tree in the world in 1989. Its historical significance goes much farther back than that. According to local history, a woman committed suicide on top of her husband’s funeral pyre. Suicide, or Sati, was a common practice for widows and held religious and cultural significance. From the ashes, grew Thimmamma Marrimanu. Every year a festival is held in honor of this tree. Many believe that if a childless couple comes and honor the tree, they will give birth within the next year.
Unless you live under a rock, you likely are familiar with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Sherwood Forest does exist. In Nottinghamshire of England, Sherwood Forest is home to the Mighty Oak. An English Oak tree that is said to be where Robin Hood and his Merry Men held camp. Mighty oak is physically striking, with a trunk that appears twisted. While there are several theories about how Mighty Oak became so big and oddly shaped, researchers cannot conclusively agree on its progression.
Driving the coast of California, you’ll want to swing through Leggett, and drive through Chandelier Tree. Chandelier Tree, a giant redwood, is named because its limbs closely resemble a chandelier. You read that first sentence correctly. I did say “drive through.” Chandelier Tree features a tunnel that you can drive your car through.
The World’s Largest Cashew Tree is in Brazil and also featured in The Guinness Book of World Records. The tree may have been planted in 1888, but others believe this tree is over a thousand years old. It still produces cashews to the tune of over 60,000 per year.
Australia, now a prime tourist destination, was once an island to send those who broke the law. 1500 years old, the Boab Prison tree in Derby is now a tourist attraction. Although it did not appear ever to house prisoners, the myth still prevails. What makes the tree a handy prison could be in large part to its bulbous trunk that is large enough to hold a human. Human remains found inside other trees of this variety belonging to Aboriginal tribes who used these trees as huts and as burial places for their deceased. The Boab Prison Tree is now a tourist attraction.
What do all of these old trees have in common? All of these trees are very much still living and standing. While this might not always be the case, their historical presence that will live on even when their bodies return to the earth.