Quiz about We Tree Kings
Quiz about We Tree Kings

We Tree Kings Trivia Quiz


Tallest, broadest, oldest. Trees are record-breakers of the natural world. This quiz will explore some of the species that appear in the prestigious roster of superlative trees.

A photo quiz by LadyNym. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
LadyNym
Time
3 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
410,026
Updated
Nov 02 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
129
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 187 (5/10), donna399 (9/10), skatersarehott (4/10).
photo quiz
1. Most of the tallest living trees are conifers. The towering monuments of nature bearing mythical names such as Hyperion, Helios, and Icarus belong to which of these species? Hint

Sitka spruce
giant cedar
coast redwood
Douglas fir

photo quiz
2. Known as mountain ash or swamp gum, Eucalyptus regnans is the tallest of all flowering plants. What part of the world are these majestic trees native to? Hint

Australia
Russia
China
Argentina

photo quiz
3. Some tree species make up in girth what they may be lacking in height. One such tree is the enormous Árbol del Tule in Oaxaca (Mexico), whose trunk has a diameter of over 9 m (29.5 ft). What kind of coniferous tree, associated with mourning in some Western countries, is it? Hint

cypress
hemlock
juniper
larch

photo quiz
4. India's iconic banyan trees boast some of the largest tree canopies, covering areas of thousands of square metres/feet. Which of these facts about the banyan is NOT true? Hint

it is also known as "strangler fig"
it produces aerial roots that become trunks
it is the national tree of India
it grows in arid and semi-arid areas

photo quiz
5. Trees can live for thousands of years. Some of the oldest living trees belong to the aptly-named species Pinus longaeva, or Great Basin bristlecone pine - found in which part of the world? Hint

East Asia
Northern Europe
Western US
South Pacific

photo quiz
6. The European continent boasts its share of "tree kings". One of these is the common, or European, yew, a conifer that can live for centuries, and whose trunk can reach very respectable girths. What else is remarkable about this iconic tree?

most of its parts are very toxic
its wood is difficult to work and not very valuable

photo quiz
7. What beautiful tree, native to Eurasia, but widely cultivated in the temperate regions of the world for its delicious seeds and durable wood, is very long-lived - with some specimens believed to be over 2,000 years of age? Hint

maple
chestnut
plane
cherry

photo quiz
8. A tree is defined as "large" in relation to the volume of wood in a single stem. Kauri trees - such as the massive Tāne Mahuta, or "God of the Forest" - rank quite high in the largeness stakes. In which island country would you find kauri? Hint

Madagascar
Papua New Guinea
New Zealand
Philippines

photo quiz
9. The tropical silk cotton tree can grow to a height of over 70 m (230 ft). Its most salient feature, however, are the huge, extensive roots that support the trunk. What name - which might remind you of Gothic architecture - is given to these roots? Hint

storage roots
stilt roots
buttress roots
canopy roots

photo quiz
10. Not surprisingly, conifers boast the thickest bark of all tree species. However, the prized bark of what non-coniferous tree native to the Mediterranean basin can grow as thick as 20 cm (8 in)? Hint

horse chestnut
manna ash
cork oak
bay laurel


Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Most of the tallest living trees are conifers. The towering monuments of nature bearing mythical names such as Hyperion, Helios, and Icarus belong to which of these species?

Answer: coast redwood

Conifers (Pinophyta) are the largest group of gymnosperms - plants whose seeds are not encased within an ovary like those of angiosperms, the flowering plants. Most of the trees that belong to the eight families of conifers can grow very tall, though none taller than the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), a tree of the family Cupressaceae that can reach heights in excess of 115 m (377 ft). These magnificent trees owe their name to the reddish-brown colour of their freshly exposed bark; as the photo shows, their trunks grow remarkably straight. They are only found in a narrow strip of land along the Pacific coast of the US, from Monterey County in California to the extreme southwestern corner of Oregon.

Besides their towering height, coast redwoods are also very long-lived, and resistant to insects and fungal infections - hence the specific name "sempervirens", which in Latin means both "evergreen" and "everlasting". A valuable timber source, these trees are now protected from logging because of their Endangered status in the IUCN Red List (2013). The world's three extant tallest trees - Hyperion, Helios, and Icarus - are all found in Redwood National Park, in northern California, though their exact location is kept secret to prevent any kind of damage.

The three trees listed as wrong answers are all conifers noted for their height. The Sitka spruce, in particular, can grow to over 90 m (295 ft). They are all native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America
2. Known as mountain ash or swamp gum, Eucalyptus regnans is the tallest of all flowering plants. What part of the world are these majestic trees native to?

Answer: Australia

Eucalyptus regnans is native to the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania, where it grows in cool, mountainous areas with plenty of rainfall. A member of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae), it is evergreen, with glossy green leaves and smooth, grey bark (except for a "stocking" of rough brown bark at the base). Its common name of "mountain ash" is due to the resemblance of its wood with that of the unrelated trees of the genus Fraxinus, which are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Its specific name "regnans" means "ruling" - an apt description of this magnificent tree, the tallest of all angiosperms. Its straight, thick trunk can grow to a height of about 100 m (328 ft). In contrast with its majestic height, the mountain ash's crown is rather small.

The tallest measured living specimen of mountain ash, a tree named Centurion (a reference to the number 100) growing in southern Tasmania, is over 100 m (328 ft) tall. However, there have been records of even taller trees, with an individual known as Ferguson Tree allegedly reaching a height of 132 m (435 ft) in the 1870s. Unfortunately, unlike other eucalyptus species, the mountain ash lacks a lignotuber (a woody swelling of the root crown that protects the tree from destruction of the plant stem), and is thus vulnerable to forest fires. Two other giant trees that grew near Centurion were destroyed in the 2019 fires, and Centurion itself was damaged.

The genus Eucalyptus includes over 700 species, most of them native to Australia, though widely cultivated in both temperate and tropical regions of the world.
3. Some tree species make up in girth what they may be lacking in height. One such tree is the enormous Árbol del Tule in Oaxaca (Mexico), whose trunk has a diameter of over 9 m (29.5 ft). What kind of coniferous tree, associated with mourning in some Western countries, is it?

Answer: cypress

Taxodium mucronatum, known as the Montezuma cypress, is a conifer of the family Cupressaceae native to Mexico and Guatemala. Though it can also grow up to 40 m (130 ft) tall, this evergreen or semi-evergreen tree's claim to fame is the exceptionally broad trunk of some specimens. Oaxaca's Arbol del Tule, estimated to be about 2,000 years old, has a diameter of over 14 m (46 ft). Though this tree is undoubtedly an exceptional specimen, trunk diameters of 3-6 m are not unknown. The Montezuma cypress's trunk often splits while growing, giving the impression of several trees growing together rather than a single tree. Though remarkably resistant to droughts, this massive tree grows mainly near water, and favours areas with high rainfall, such as the Mexican highlands.

In Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs, the Montezuma cypress is known as "ahuehuete" ("old man of the water"), while in Spanish it is called "sabino". Montezuma cypresses are often planted as ornamental trees in parks and gardens; the tree's bark, resin, and leaves are also used for various medicinal purposes. Sacred to the native peoples of Mexico, in particular the Zapotecs, it was declared the country's national tree in 1910. On 31 December 2020, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador planted a Montezuma cypress in one of the gardens of Mexico's National Palace (Palacio Nacional) to honour the memory of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cypresses were associated with mourning in Greek and Roman culture, and the association has continued until the present day in much of the Mediterranean region.
4. India's iconic banyan trees boast some of the largest tree canopies, covering areas of thousands of square metres/feet. Which of these facts about the banyan is NOT true?

Answer: it grows in arid and semi-arid areas

Banyans belong to the subgenus Urostigma of the genus Ficus, part of the large mulberry family (Moraceae). Although this subgenus comprises a number of species, most of them native to the tropical regions of the world, the name "banyan" is most often used to designate Ficus benghalensis - which was given this name because of its association with "baniyas", the members of a Hindu trading caste that set up their markets under the shade of these trees' gigantic canopies.

The banyan is an epiphyte - that is, a plant that grows on another plant, which it eventually suffocates (hence the common name of "strangler fig"). These trees are found in rainforests and similar humid environments over most of the Indian subcontinent. Though they can reach a height of 30 m (98 ft), banyans tend to spread on the surface, and the diameter of their crowns usually far exceeds their height. These immense canopies are supported by the tree's downward-growing aerial roots, which become woody trunks once they become rooted into the ground.

The banyan shown in the photo, known as the Great Banyan, is located in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden near Kolkata (West Bengal). Believed to be at least 250 years old, it covers an area of almost 20,000 m² (4.95 acres), and its crown has a circumference of over 450 m (1476 ft), supported by thousands of aerial roots. However, another even larger specimen of banyan, called Thimmamma Marrimanu, is found in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The banyan was adopted as the national tree of India in 1950; it is also held sacred by the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Some impressive banyan specimens can also be admired in the ruins of the Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat (Cambodia).
5. Trees can live for thousands of years. Some of the oldest living trees belong to the aptly-named species Pinus longaeva, or Great Basin bristlecone pine - found in which part of the world?

Answer: Western US

As its common name implies, the Great Basin bristlecone pine is endemic to the higher mountain areas of California, Nevada, and Utah that lie within the vast area of the western US known as the Great Basin. With their characteristic gnarled, stunted appearance, these medium-sized trees rarely grow higher than 15 m (49 ft). Unlike other conifer species, the Great Basin bristlecone pine does not form dense forests, but rather grows in scattered groves, often in harsh terrain with poor soil. The name "bristlecone" refers to the bristle-like prickles that grow on each of the scales of a mature cone.

There are another two species of bristlecone pine, besides Pinus longaeva, also native to the western US: the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) and the foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana). Their dense, resin-rich wood is highly resistant to pests, and does not rot even after the tree dies, but is eroded by the elements as if it were stone. This is one of the reasons for these trees' astounding longevity. The Great Basin bristlecone pine is by far the longest-lived of the three species: a specimen from the Inyo National Forest in the White Mountains of Eastern California - appropriately named Methuselah - has been verified as being over 4,800 years old. The other two species have been known to reach at least 3,000 years of age. However, the resinous wood of these trees makes them very vulnerable to fires: because of that, in order to prevent episodes of vandalism, the exact location of Methuselah is kept secret.

Though these trees' longevity may sound astonishing, clonal colonies (i.e. groups of genetically identical organisms grown from a single ancestor) are much longer-lived. The quaking aspen colony known as "Pando" found in south-central Utah is estimated to be about 80,000 years old.
6. The European continent boasts its share of "tree kings". One of these is the common, or European, yew, a conifer that can live for centuries, and whose trunk can reach very respectable girths. What else is remarkable about this iconic tree?

Answer: most of its parts are very toxic

A member of the family Taxaceae, the European yew (Taxus baccata) is native to Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia. While the specific name "baccata" - meaning "bearing berries" - refers to the fleshy, bright red arils that cover the seeds, the generic name Taxus is believed to have the same root as "toxic" - the Greek "toxon", meaning "bow". Indeed, the yew tree is one of the most toxic plants found in Europe: every part of it - except the above-mentioned arils - is poisonous, containing at least ten different alkaloids that can cause severe poisoning, and even death, in humans and livestock. Because of that, yews have long been associated with death, and often planted in or around churchyards in parts of Western Europe.

Though relatively small (generally no higher than 20 m/65 ft) and very slow-growing, yews can be very long-lived: some specimens in the British Isles, where these trees are widespread, are estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. The oldest of these trees, the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire (Scotland), is believed to be even older than that; its trunk once had a girth of 16 m (52 ft), though now it has split into a number of separate stems. Other remarkable yew trees can be found in continental Europe, in particular in Spain (the Bermiego yew in Asturias) and Belgium (a yew known as Caesar's Tree because of a legend connecting it with the Roman general).

Yew wood is highly prized: though hard, it is very elastic and attractive in appearance. Because of these characteristics, it was historically employed to make furniture, musical instruments, and especially the celebrated English longbows, among the most effective medieval weapons. Now yew trees are mainly used for ornamental purposes.
7. What beautiful tree, native to Eurasia, but widely cultivated in the temperate regions of the world for its delicious seeds and durable wood, is very long-lived - with some specimens believed to be over 2,000 years of age?

Answer: chestnut

Chestnuts belong to the beech family (Fagaceae), which also includes oaks. The genus Castanea comprises seven species, all native to the Northern Hemisphere. The European chestnut (Castanea sativa), also known as the sweet chestnut, is a beautiful tree that grows in temperate climates. It is cultivated not only for its edible seeds (chestnuts), which have long been a staple of the diets of people in the regions of Europe and Asia to which it is native, but also for its strong, durable wood, used for a variety of purposes.

European chestnuts can attain a height of up to 35 m (117 ft), with trunks often measuring about 2 m (7 ft) in diameter. There are, however, extraordinary specimens with much larger girths, such as the ancient tree - believed to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old - known as Hundred Horse Chestnut ("Castagno dei Cento Cavalli" in Italian). This huge tree, listed in the Guinness Book of Records, is found on the southern slopes of Mount Etna, in Sicily. Its trunk has split into at least three large trunks that share the same root: however, when it was measured in the late 18th century, the trunk had a circumference of almost 58 m (190 ft), and a diameter of 18 m (59 ft). The tree's nickname also emphasizes its massive size, as it references a local legend according to which Empress Isabella, third wife of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, sheltered from a storm under the branches of the tree.with an entourage of 100 mounted knights.

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is somewhat larger than the European species. However, in the early years of the 20th century this species was all but wiped out by a blight caused by a parasitic fungus accidentally introduced from Asia.
8. A tree is defined as "large" in relation to the volume of wood in a single stem. Kauri trees - such as the massive Tāne Mahuta, or "God of the Forest" - rank quite high in the largeness stakes. In which island country would you find kauri?

Answer: New Zealand

Not surprisingly, some of the tallest tree species contain extremely large wood volumes. The current record is held by the famous giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) known as General Sherman, found in Sequoia National Park, California. However, the gigantic conifers of the North American West Coast have a serious competitor in New Zealand's kauri trees (Agathis australis). Kauri are coniferous, evergreen trees of the family Araucariaceae, a very ancient family that consists of genera growing almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. The generic name "Agathis" means "ball of twine" in Greek, referring to the shape of the male cones, while the specific name "australis" means "southern".

The Agathis species comprises 22 genera; Agathis australis is the only one found in New Zealand - hence the common names of southern kauri or New Zealand kauri. These massive trees grow in the northern part of the North Island, north of 38º S latitude. They grow to a height of up to 50 m (164 ft), with trunk diameters of over 5 m (16 ft). Their trunks grow thick and straight, shedding their lower branches as they reach maturity to prevent vines from climbing, while the top branches form large crowns that dominate the forest canopy. However, kauri are not New Zealand's tallest trees: the kahikatea, or white pine (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides), can reach a height of 60 m (197 ft). The largest living kauri, Tāne Mahuta - named after the Māori god of forests and birds - is found in the Waipoua Forest of New Zealand's Northland Region. Estimated to be at least 1,250 years old, it is a remnant of the ancient subtropical rainforest that once covered the region. When it was measured in 2002, the tree had a volume of 516.7 m³ (18,250 cu ft).

In the past, kauri were highly prized for their fossilized gum (resin), which was mainly used as varnish, though - much like amber - it could also be used to make jewellery or small decorative objects. In the 19th century, kauri gum was Auckland's main export. To highlight the economic and cultural importance of those trees in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Kauri Museum was established in 1962 in the village of Matahoke, just south of the Waipoua Forest.
9. The tropical silk cotton tree can grow to a height of over 70 m (230 ft). Its most salient feature, however, are the huge, extensive roots that support the trunk. What name - which might remind you of Gothic architecture - is given to these roots?

Answer: buttress roots

Also known as plank roots, buttress roots grow on all sides of shallowly rooted trees - such as those that grow in the thin, nutrient-poor soils of many tropical forests - supporting the trunk, and preventing it from falling over. As the photo shows, these roots are often large and wide: they can grow to up to 9 m (29.5 ft) in height, and spread horizontally for over 30 m (98), collecting nutrients from the soil before sinking below the ground.

A number of tropical tree species are distinguished by their massive buttress roots: among them there are the Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla), closely related to the banyan, the jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), and especially the silk cotton tree, or kapok (Ceiba pentandra) - a specimen of which is depicted in the photo. A native of Mexico, Central and South America, and West Africa, this tree owes its common name to the fluffy, cotton-like fibre contained in its seed pods, for which it is cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia, especially on the island of Java. The cultivated trees, however, are considerably smaller than those that grow in the wild, which can have trunks of 3 m (10 ft) in diameter - occasionally even larger. The kapok tree's buttress roots can extend to 15 m (50 ft) up the trunk, and branch out on the ground for over 20 m (65 ft). This majestic tree can also form a very broad crown: a specimen in Panama, known as the Big Tree, has a crown whose diameter exceeds 60 m (197 ft). Another iconic specimen, simply named Cotton Tree, grows in the centre of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, in West Africa: it is believed to be at least 250 years old.

In architecture, buttresses are structures that support or reinforce a wall. Flying buttresses are one of the most distinctive features of Gothic architecture, and can be seen in iconic buildings such as Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The three wrong answers all refer to types of roots found in plants.
10. Not surprisingly, conifers boast the thickest bark of all tree species. However, the prized bark of what non-coniferous tree native to the Mediterranean basin can grow as thick as 20 cm (8 in)?

Answer: cork oak

Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) win first prize in relation to bark thickness. While the bark of one tree in Kings Canyon National Park, in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, was found to be 75 cm (2.5 ft) thick, parts of the basal bark of General Sherman, the world's largest tree in terms of wood volume, are likely to be as thick as 1.2 m (4 ft). The bark of flowering trees never reaches that kind of thickness, even in very large trees such as the mountain ash.

The record-holder for the thickest bark of all angiosperms is the cork oak (Quercus suber), an evergreen oak native to the western Mediterranean basin. This medium-sized tree (10-15 m/33-49 ft high on average) grows a layered, grey-brown trunk bark with deep vertical cracks and a characteristic light, spongy texture. A specimen growing near Lisbon, Portugal's capital city, was found to have bark 20 cm (8 in) thick. After the cork is harvested, the denuded trunk appears reddish-brown in colour, as shown in the photo. The first harvest usually occurs when the tree is about 25 years of age; harvesting takes place every 9-12 years, every 7-8 if conditions are particularly favourable. Southern Portugal and southern Spain are the most important centres for cork production.

Cork oaks are long-lived, and can reach over 400 years of age; they thrive in warm weather and are drought-resistant, though they will not tolerate temperatures below −10 °C (14 °F). They are often found growing together with other major plants of the Mediterranean woodlands and forests ecoregion, such as the holly oak (Quercus ilex), the stone pine (Pinus pinea), and the olive tree (Olea europaea). The cork oak's thick bark has an insulating function, protecting the tree from forest fires, which are a frequent occurrence in the Mediterranean region.
Source: Author LadyNym

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