Photo: by Uwe Hermann
Trees are more long lived than any other organism on the planet, and they exhibit distinctive features that distinguish them from any other plant.
They provide permanence in the landscape because of their woody trunks and branches that do not die back in the winter as the tops of herbaceous perennials do. Rather, once seed germination occurs in the right conditions, trees continue to grow, and when of sufficient size they will continue to be clearly visible across their entire life span.
As well as living longer than any other organism on our planet, they can, if given the opportunity, grow into the largest organisms. Trees have been growing on earth for 370 million years, and any land that is bare will eventually sprout trees.
They must have light to survive but, because of their erect trunks, they can hold their leafy branches higher than competing plants and so photosynthesis is easy for them even in crowded vegetation. Because they have a large root system they compete successfully for moisture during dry periods. They are well designed to store water and food in times of drought, so shrug off competition from other smaller plants.
There are approximately 80,000 different species of trees on earth, so they present much variety in terms of shape, form, bark and foliage. Additionally, many trees have incredibly beautiful flowers, especially in the spring, and when a tree is massed with flowers, it is a sight to behold!