Random thoughts: Trees

The flowers are in bloom. Everywhere I look, there is a vibrancy of colors! I see a slightly bent over tree, with streamlined, sap-green leaves and flowers of a shade of lavender. The petals have cascaded onto the prickly, viridian grass, and the burnt sienna of the ‘omnipresent’ dirt provides a stark contrast to them. I shift my gaze to yet another tree, at a small distance from the first one. The flowers of this one have the prettiest lemon yellow petals, and they stand out in variance to the deepest green of the leaves. This tree is rather tall, but has spread out its countless branches in a multitude of directions. I then choose another tree in the vicinity to scrutinize. It has elliptical seaweed colored leaves, with flowers having shapely, pearly-white petals. 

I love nature. I read a book last year, called The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben, and found it to be quite intriguing. There was a term he’d mentioned: the Wood Wide Web. Clever. This term refers to the network of mycorrhizal fungi that connect the roots of trees in a vicinity, and help the trees to interact with each other. For example, a mere stump of a once-magnificent tree was found to be alive, with layers of chloroplasts packed underneath. This was only possible because the trees in the vicinity of it provided it with the nutrients that they gained from the rich soil and excess water that they would’ve normally lost through processes like transpiration or secretion through the leaves. These nutrients and the water seeped through the mycorrhizal fungi, and reached the old stump and nourished it for many years. 

I wondered, as I was observing the trees growing in my society, if it was possible for these brilliant communication networks to exist here. I talked to my mom about it, and she explained to me that, in order for our society to be built, it was necessary to dig deep (around 20 meters) into the soil and take out all of the existing tree roots. Due to this, the mycorrhizal fungi networks couldn’t be formed, since they take years to develop. 

Hmm. Isn’t it interesting how we humans have managed to turn nature unnatural? And yet, at the same time, some of us are taking such stringent measures to conserve and protect it. I just found it amazing that trees could support each other in such a non-discriminatory way (the networks are not specific to certain species). If only everyone could do that.

P.S. All the information about the mycorrhizal fungi networks and the Wood Wide Web comes from the book. I haven’t done any of that extensive research, just found it to be rather interesting.


10 thoughts on “Random thoughts: Trees

  1. I give my much loved Live Oak a big hug when I pass her. Just recently I noticed that the bark lice had come back after a few years’ absence. They cover the tree in a web and then eat the lichen which is harmful to the Oak. Then they wrap up the web (like a tarpaulin) and go onto the next Live Oak. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are nature
    the microorganisms
    the mushrooms on
    and under the skin
    the bacteria
    every cell
    those in us
    can think independently

    the grasses
    and plants
    the animals
    are ours
    Brothers and
    Sisters

    Like

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