The Forest Made Of One Tree
Photo credit: Mateus S. Figueiredo
Nature is full of surprises. Just when she has you believing that it takes several trees to make a forest, bam! You get hit with the largest cashew tree in the world, found in the city of Natal, Brazil. Planted in 1888 by a local fisherman, this tree covers about 7,500 square meters (81,000 ft2) and has a perimeter of about 500 meters (1,600 ft). That’s about the size of 75 tennis courts. The Natal cashew tree currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest cashew tree in the world.
So what makes this tree so gargantuan? It has two unusual genetic traits that cause it to grow like it does. For one, the branches grow to the side instead of upward. The second anomaly is kind of freaky: The side-growing branches eventually get so heavy that they touch the ground. But instead of just resting there, the branches sprout roots. The newly rooted branch then starts growing upward as if it were a new tree. During harvest time, it’s estimated that the tree produces more than 60,000 cashew fruits.
Thanks to this article from Listverse, I now know that the surprises from Mother Nature just keeps on coming. I'm glad, because I really like cashews!
Coffee out on the patio this morning once again.