Botanical Bucket List

We all have one; I have several. Lists of places we want to visit and things we’d like to see or accomplish in our lifetime. Along with my regular bucket list, I also have several botanical bucket lists that include plant species I’d love to see in person and cultivars I wish to grow someday. One of my botanical bucket lists is dedicated solely to trees. Yes, I am a tree lover; I’ve even been known to hug a few. So naturally, I have a list of tree species I wish to visit in my lifetime.

Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea):  As their name indicates, these trees are known for their strangling growth habit. The seeds are dispersed by birds and often grow in crevices at the top of trees in tropical forests. They then send their roots downward, enveloping the host tree while also growing upward towards the light. These trees have taken over several Cambodian temples, growing massive roots over, under, and through the sandstone walls. Seeing trees that are literally holding buildings in their grasp would be a fantastic sight to see.

A Strangler Fig Grows Around the Entrance of Temple Ruins at Angkor Wat
Strangler Fig Trees Engulf the Ancient Ruins of Ta Prohm

Major Oak: A sizeable English oak (Quercus robur) located in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England was, according to folklore, the tree that sheltered Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This 800-1000-year-old oak is estimated to weigh 23 tons, has a circumference of 33 feet, and a canopy of 92 feet. Who wouldn’t want to visit a tree straight out of folklore?

Can You Picture Robin Hood and his Merry Men Around This Oak Tree?

Arbol del Tule: A Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) located in the town center of Santa Maria del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. This tree boasts the stoutest trunk globally, its girth measuring just over 137 feet and reaches 116 feet tall. Originally thought to be multiple trees, DNA tests have proven that it is only one tree.

Arbol del Tule, a Giant Montezuma Cypress in Tule Oaxaca Mexico

General Sherman: This giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in California. This tree is estimated to be around 2,300-2,700 years old and is the largest (by volume) known living, single-stem tree. I have always dreamed of seeing these towering giants.

General Sherman, the Giant Sequoia, is the Largest Tree on Earth

Baobab (Adansonia digitata): Madagascar’s baobab trees can endure harsh drought conditions by storing large amounts of water in their trunks (up to 32,000 US gallons). Many of the oldest baobabs, being over 1,600 years old, live in Tsimanampetsotse National Park.

Beautiful Baobab Trees at the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar

Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta): Native to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, this tree is the only Eucalyptus species that typically live in the rainforest. It is mainly used for pulpwood to make white paper but is also grown as an ornamental in the frost-free states of Hawaii, Southern California, Texas, and Florida. I would love to see the beautiful bark of this tree in person someday.

The Colorful Bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree

Angel Oak: This famous Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. It stands at 66.5 ft, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade covering 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length. This majestic beauty holds a top spot on my botanical bucket list.

The Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, South Carolina

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva): This tree species is known for being long-lived and highly resilient to harsh weather. The oldest known specimen is Methuselah, whose age has been verified to be more than 4,800 years old. Methuselah’s specific location is a closely guarded secret, but I would love to visit any of the bristlecone pines in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of California.

Bristlecone Pines Are Known to Be Long-Lived and Resilient to Harsh Weather

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum): The Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon, is home to a famous Japanese maple tree in its Strolling Pond Garden. This beautiful tree has its own Flickr group and has been featured on National Geographic.

Red Japanese Maple Tree at Portland Japanese Garden in Springtime

Chinese Ginkgo Tree (Ginkgo biloba): At the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in China’s Zhongnan Mountains, a 1,400year-old ginkgo tree grows. The tree is believed to have been planted by the Emperor Li Shimin, the founding father of the Tang Dynasty. Ginkgo trees are often referred to as “living fossils” because they have remained the same for more than 200 million years despite drastic climate changes. When this specimen drops its leaves, it looks like an expansive golden carpet.

The Foliage of the Ginkgo Tree is Dazzling During Autumn

Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda): If you visit the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi, Japan, between mid-April and mid-May, you will be treated to a spectacular show. The thousands of purple blooms from their famous Japanese wisteria vines will surround you as you walk beneath. I can only imagine how it would feel to be surrounded by beautiful wisteria blooms.

Gorgeous View of the Wisteria Trellis at Ashikaga Flower Park, Japan

Snow Gum/Twisted Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus pauciflora): Native to eastern Australia, Snow gums are among the hardiest of the eucalyptus species, surviving the severe winter temperatures of the Australian Alps down to -9֯ F. Their bark is stunningly beautiful.

Snow Gum Trees in Baw Baw National Park, Australia.

Divi Divi Tree (Libidibia coriaria): This tree is common in Aruba and is the national tree of CuraÇao. Their growth is often contorted by the trade winds that batter the coastal areas where it grows. I am intrigued by these fascinating trees that rise straight out of the sandy beaches.

Divi Divi Tree Growing on the Beach in Aruba

Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides)/Pando Tree: This clonal colony of an individual male quaking aspen in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah is the world’s heaviest living organism. Pando occupies 108 acres, and its root system is estimated to be several thousand years old, placing it among the oldest known living organisms.

A Clonal Colony of Quaking Aspen in Utah is the World’s Heaviest Living Organism

Butterfly Trees: Okay, so these aren’t actually a tree species. The Oyamel Forest in Mexico serves as an overwintering site for monarch butterflies. Millions of butterflies migrate here each year and rest in the pine, cedar, and fir trees, clumping together in the branches to stay warm. Sadly, monarch populations have been drastically declining, and this is one bucket list item that may not be around for me to see much longer.

Monarch Butterflies Rest in the Trees of Oyamel Forest in Mexico
Monarch Butterflies Clump Together on Branches to Stay Warm

I probably won’t get to visit all of these fantastic tree specimens, but that’s okay; one can dream. Even if I only get to see a few in my lifetime, I would be happy. The others I will have to be satisfied reading about and looking at their photographs. Do you have a botanical bucket list? If so, let me know what’s on it, whether it’s cultivars you’d like to grow, botanical gardens you’d love to visit, or plant species you wish to see in person. We can dream our botanical dreams together.

*All above photos are stock images from BIGSTOCK. Hopefully, I will someday be able to take pictures of these magnificent trees.

6 Replies to “Botanical Bucket List”

  1. This is spectacular! Thank you for your research and bring this to your readers. I love a good treehouse, but those strangler figs? They take it to a whole new level! Your slice interspersed with the gorgeous photos is captivating. Thank you for sharing your passion so beautifully and inviting others into it with you. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this Dawn. I need to catch up on your blog!!
    I really want to go to the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
    I also want to visit one botanical garden in each state.
    So far 9, long way to go!!


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