Trees are both, beautiful, and beneficial. They are so elegant with their attractive leaves in various shapes and colors, but at the same time, they are the home of numerous birds and other animals.
Moreover, trees provide oxygen, food, medicine, and fuel, conserve energy, attract rain, save water, and prevent soil erosion. Trees are simply amazing!
Yet, have you ever thought that they need their personal space too? Apparently, they do!
If you have noticed the uppermost branches of trees avoiding to touch one another, you have spotted a phenomenon known as “crown shyness”, which was initially observed in the 1920s.
It occurs in various tree species, like black mangrove trees, eucalyptus, Sitka spruce, camphor trees, and Japanese larch. Crown shyness is more common in tropical forests, which tend to have flatter canopies. It might just be a result of trees rubbing against one another, but there are numerous theories about its occurrence.
While many claim that this is the trees’ attempt to protect their branches from being cracked and injured by the wind, others maintain that this improves light exposure to maximize photosynthesis done by the tree leaves.
Venerable Trees, a conservation nonprofit, believes that trees are competing for resources:
“ Trees have a highly sophisticated system for measuring light and telling time. They can tell whether light is coming from the sun or if it’s being reflected off leaves. Leaves have been shown to detect far-red light bouncing onto them after hitting trees close by. When they discern that light is being reflected off leaves, that’s a signal: “Hey, there’s another plant nearby, let’s slow down growth in that direction.””
Also, some attribute it to the spread of harmful insects. Regardless of the cause of crown shyness, these trees are another proof that Nature is magnificent, creative, and unique!
Scroll down to see them practicing social-distancing: