- (1) THE CALCUTTA BANYAN. A specimen of Ficus benghalensis in the Indian National Botanic Garden, which germinated
around 1782, has since grown to cover 5.48 acres of ground as of January 31, 2000 by the garden's own calculations,
but Yoav D. Bar-Ness obtained a figure of 4.08 acres from aerial photos in 2012. It is supported by 2,880 pillar roots. In
1959 it was already 101 feet (31 meters) high at its highest point. See: Neels Esterhuise, "Remarkable Trees of
South Africa" (Pretoria: Briza Pubs., 2001) p. 82 and: www.flickr.com/photos/meredith415/137959945/sizes/m/ and then go to"original" size. See also: Ira J. Condit, "Ficus - The Exotic Species" (Univ. of Calif. Div.
of Agric. Sci., 1969) pp. 17-18. And also: www.outreachecology.com/cataloguingindiasgiantbanyans/ The one called "Thimmamma Marimanu" is larger, but has not been measured as precisely, or observed as long,
or as closely. Still another banyan, the "Great Banyan of Majhi" near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh has the greatest spread
of limbs along one axis; an incredible 686 feet! The largest Ficus bengalensis outside its native range may be
the one at Phimai, in northeastern Thailand, which is said to cover 3.7 acres (15,000 sq. meters) See: www.wonderfull.com/trees.htm
- (2) THE CORKSCREW REDWOOD. A Sequoia sempervirens in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which is the world's
largest fasciate plant - a writheing mass of flattened trunks with a combined diameter of about twenty feet and
about average mature redwood height. See: "Humboldt" at www.watbullonline.com/Humboldt.htm and other sources. A good photograph can be seen at: www.flickr.com/photos/kellenkjera/2970513536/
- (3) THE "OHATSUKI ICHO" GINKGO (G. biloba) at the Kokubunji Temple, Kameoka City, Chitose Perfecture, Japan
is very large and old, but is especially noteworthy for its huge "chi-chis" (aerial roots up to a foot thick and, in the case
of certain other individuals, up to sixteen feet long and rooting in the ground like a banyan) and because, very curiously,
it bears its seeds upon ordinary leaves. See: www.xs4all.nl/~kwanten/more.htm And: Ernest H. Wilson, "Aristocrats of the Trees", (Boston: Stratford Co., 1930) p. 48. (Max. size
of chi-chis) And also: "American Forests" (April 1948) letter from Prof. Florence B. Robinson, with photograph
(taking root). Chi-chis are neither true roots in the ordinary sense nor modified shoots as some have suggested,
but unique structures most nearly akin to the "knees" of the Bald Cypress. See: Ewa U. Kurczynska, "The Anatomy of the
Chi-Chi...etc., JOURNAL of PLANT RESEARCH Vol. 120 #2 (March 2007) p. 275.
- (4) THE GARGOYLE REDWOOD, a S. sempervirens along Old Woman Creek in San Mateo County, California which consists
of a very short, 14-foot thick trunk bearing a single, massive, horizontal limb 10' 6" thick and about a hundred
feet long. Several large suckers on the opposite side of the trunk serve to counterbalance it. See: "Trees Magazine"
(Nov. - Dec. 1957) pp. 6-7 with photo.
- (6) THE ALBINO REDWOOD. Another S. sempervirens at an undisclosed location for its protection (Around 1980,
a disturbed gentleman cut off its top for a Christmas tree. Just prior to that, it had reached a height of 84 feet).
It is fed by the neighboring redwoods through natural root grafts. The bark is of normal color. See: Jeremy Joan
Hewes, "Redwoods - The World's Tallest Trees" (New York: Rand McNally and Co., 1981) p. 38 and other sources.
There are several albino redwoods, and the tallest at present is said to be sixty-nine feet tall. See: "Guinness
World Records" (2012 edition) p. 65.
- (7) THE SLIME TREES OF MOUNT RORAIMA (Ewww!!). These were mentioned and shown briefly on a "Nova" documentary
on PBS. Their taxonomy was not given, but another source says it is two or more species in the Soapberry Family
(Sapindaceae) found in the cloud forests on the talus slopes of Mount Roraima, on the border between Guyana and Venezuela.
The leafy shoots produce huge amounts of slime which slathers down the limbs and trunk to accumulate on the
forest floor, perhaps to prevent herbivores from approaching the trees and/or to entangle insect pests. See: http://dinets.travel.ru/roraima2.htm. A photo of the slime forest can be seen at: www.images.rgs.org/search_aspx?eventID=113 (See image No. S0025366} And the Slime Trees are mentioned in "The Garden" Vol. 108 (1983) p. 136
And: "Country Life" Vol.157 (1975) p. 519.
- It should be pointed out that there is a population of the SCHOLAR TREE or MILKWOOD (Alstonia scholaris)
in New Guinea which typically have trunks that are triangular in cross-section. See: C.E. Lane-Poole,
"Forest Resources of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea" (Melbourne: Govt. Printer, 1925) p. 134.
A. scholaris is also notable in producing whorls of up to ten leaves at each node, each leaf being up to nine inches
long by three wide. See: Dietrich Brandis K.C.I.E., "Indian Trees" (Dehra Dun: Bishen Singh mahendra Pal Singh,
1971 reprint) p. 459 (number of leaves). And: Prof. E.J.H. Corner, "Wayside Trees of Malaya" (Singapore:
Gov't Printing Office, 1952 edition) Vol. 1 p. 141. (size) The tree's buttresses can extend thirtyfive feet
up the trunk.
- (9) GREWIA CORIACEA of the West African rainforest, upon toppling over, forms a long, straight row of trees springing
from the original trunk. See: Kjell B. Sandved and Michael Emsley, "Rain Forests and Cloud Forests" (New
York: Harry N. Abrams, 1979) p. 70.
- (10) The TULDA (Bambusa tulda) a bamboo of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India has a tensile strength of 26 to
30 tons (52,000 to 60,000 pounds) per square inch ! See: Floyd A. McClure, "Bamboos for Farm and Home", 1948 YEARBOOK OF
AGRICULTURE - GRASSES (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agric., 1948) p. 738. And also: Atherton Lee, "Bamboos",
AGRICULTURE IN THE AMERICAS Vol. 4 # 7 (July 1944) p. 129.
- (11) AESCHYNOMENE HISPIDA of Cuba has wood weighing only 2.75 pounds per cubic foot. See: Edwin A. Menninger,
"Fantastic Trees (New York: Viking Press, 1967) p. 279 (note # 9). By contrast, some samples of SOUTH AFRICAN
BLACK IRONWOOD (Olea laurifolia) and LETTERWOOD (Piratineria (or Brosmium) guianensis) share a density of
ninety-three pounds per cubic foot (thirty-four times denser than Aeschynomene !). See: Donald McFarlan and Norris McWhirter,
"Guinness Book of World Records" (New York: Sterling 1990 Am, Edit.) pp. 76- 77 (So. Af. Black Ironwood) And: Menninger
loc cit. (Note # 5).
- (12) The VACOUA en PYRAMIDE (Pandanus obeliscus) of Madagascar has linear leaves up to twelve feet long
and six inches wide along its trunk, while along its hundreds of side branches the leaves are only six inches long and
a half inch wide. It has the form of a giant Christmas tree. It may be the most massive pandan or screwpine,
with a trunk three feet thick and sixty feet tall. See: Gardener's Chronicle Vol. 12 (3rd series) (December 27, 1879)
p. 822. A photograph of the closely related P. pulcher can be seen at: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/194848/
- (13) A certain BIG TREE, SIERRA REDWOOD or GIANT SEQUOIA (Sequoia [-dendron] gigantea) along the Paradise
Trail in the Atwell Mill Grove, Sequoia National Park has a basal DIAMETER (not girth) of fifty-seven feet ! It is hollow,
and there is room enough for three bull Hippos and their keepers to be inside it at once. See: Wendell Flint, "To
Find the Biggest Tree" (Three Rivers, Calif.: Sequoia Nat. Hist. Assoc., 1987 edition) p. 26.
- (15) GIGANTOCHLOA ASPERA, a bamboo of Java, has culms up to 170 feet or fiftytwo meters in height, and
still seven inches thick (22 inches girth) at 120 feet above ground. Quoting Zollinger in "Select Extra-Tropical Plants"
by Ferdinand von Mueller (1891 edition) pp. 215- 216.