Monday, 5 June 2017

Dino-Era Tree’s Mystery: Reaching towards the Equator

Cook pines (Araucaria columnaris). Image courtesy of Fourrure, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Joel Kontinen

Researchers have recently learnt of, though not necessarily solved, new mysteries about trees. Who could have thought that they tend to sleep at night?

An older discovery is that they have self-assembling solar panels.

A recent paper published in the journal Ecology looks at a peculiar trait in Cook pines (Araucaria columnaris). On average, they tilt by 8.55 degrees, which happens to be twice as much as the Leaning Tower of Pisa does.

What is more, of the 256 Cook pines examined, all tilted towards the Equator.

They might do so to get more sunlight.

Like the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), other Araucaria lived during the (assumed) heydays of the dinosaurs.

Researchers have found pollen grains of Araucaria araucana or the monkey puzzle tree below the ice cover in Antarctica, suggesting that Noah’s Flood left them there some 4,500 years ago.

Flowers also have some amazing traits. Blue leaves help them get more energy from the sun.


Malhotra, Richa. 2017. The strange Cook pine trees that always lean towards the equator. New Scientist (2 June).