1. Earth has more than 60,000 known tree species.
The scientists behind this effort compiled data from museums, botanical gardens, agricultural centers and other sources, and concluded there are 60,065 tree species currently known to science.
2. More than half of all tree species exist only in a single country.
Nearly 58 percent of all tree species are single-country endemics, the study found, meaning each one naturally occurs only within the borders of a single nation.
3. Trees didn’t exist for the first 90 percent of Earth’s history.
Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and plants may have colonized land as recently as 470 million years ago, most likely mosses and liverworts without deep roots.
4. Before trees, Earth was home to fungi that grew 26 feet tall.
From about 420 million to 370 million years ago, a mysterious genus of creatures named Prototaxites grew large trunks up to 3 feet (1 meter) wide and 26 feet.
5. The first known tree was a leafless, fern-like plant from New York.
The earliest known tree is Wattieza, identified from 385 million-year-old fossils found in what’s now New York.
6. Some trees emit chemicals that attract enemies of their enemies.
Not only can they produce chemicals to combat leaf-eating insects, for instance, but some also send airborne chemical signals to each other, apparently warning nearby trees to prepare for an insect attack..
7. Trees in a forest can ‘talk’ and share nutrients through an underground internet built by soil fungi.
Like most plants, trees have symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi that live on their roots.
8. Trees can lower stress, raise property values and fight crime.
It’s human nature to like trees. Just looking at them can make us feel happier, less stressed and more creative.
This may be partly due to biophilia, or our innate affinity for nature, but there are also other forces at work.
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