Category Archives: Exotic and Interesting Trees

Nathan Discovers More Giant Trees

On his global and never-ending quest to discover and photograph giant trees, Nathan has found several more to add to the list right in his own backyard. Please enjoy these wonders of nature!

Nathan found this giant old-growth Douglas fir tree while hiking with Jared in Silver Falls State Park here in western Oregon. This mammoth is about seven feet in diameter at breast height, but is small compared to some of the monsters firs that were logged that were logged from this state a century ago. This tree’s ancestors were twice this size!
A cathedral of old growth Douglas fir trees. Nathan, the Treevangelist, could easily preach the good news of the importance of trees (and the Tree of Life, as well) from this “church pulpit.” The wind whistling around the these lofty spires would match the mellifluous serenity of any Gothic cathedral’s pipe organ.
While we’re at Silver Falls State Park, we can’t leave the area without a picture of trees against the backdrop of one of the area’s many waterfalls.
We’re coming into Willamette Mission State Park near Kaiser, Oregon. Notice the tree in the middle against the skyline? Doesn’t look like much from here, but it’s the largest tree of its species in North America!
This humungous black cottonwood is 155 feet tall.
It is more than eight feet in diameter at breast height and is some 235 years old.
Though not a world record holder by any means, this coastal redwood tree is the largest that I have found in my home town of Wilsonville, Oregon. It is about 100 years old.

Madagascar’s Trees— Bizarre and Other-Worldly Looking

Ever been to Madagascar, the earth’s fourth largest island just off the southeastern coast of Africa? Neither have I. But recently I trekked, or more correctly, strolled through the weirdest bunch of trees in my life—a Madagascarian forest. These other-worldly trees, look like come out of sci-fi movie or something. They’re some of the world’s rarest and most endangered trees, and are featured, of all places, at the San Diego Zoo’s Africa Rocks Exhibit.

Please enjoy this brief tour…

The Madagascar Palm

The Healing Moringa Tree Continue reading

In Search of the World’s Largest Cactus in Cabo!

There are some 1750 known cactus varieties (Cactaceae family) in the world. Most are native to North and South America with few species native to Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka and some Islands in the Indian Ocean. Hundreds of cacti are native to the Sonora and Baja deserts of NW Mexico and the US southwest.

Recently, I took a trip to Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. From Cabo, I travelled north about 40 or 50 miles along the coast for some fun in the desert. To my excitement, there were cactus everywhere. To this rusty, rain-drenched Pacific Northwest US web-toed native and professional tree-loving arborists, the unique novelty of an arid desert that receives only a couple of inches of rain per year and where forests of cacti abound stirs my flora passions and unquenchable curiosities to new highs.

Wherever I travel around America and the world, I’m always in search of the biggest and most unique tree species the planet has to offer. Well, I found one in Baja Sur California—the giant cardon or elephant cactus.

The largest cactus in the world next to the Saguaro cactus is the Mexican giant cardon or elephant cactus found in NW Mexico in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur and Sonora. The maximum recorded height of the cardon cactus is 63 feet with a foot trunk diameter of more than three feet with several side branches. This cactus is slow growing and can live for hundreds of years and may weigh up to 25 tons. The saguaro cactus native to Mexico, California and Arizona generally grows to about 40 feet tall, but a few decades ago one blew down that was 78 feet tall. Currently, the tallest saguaro cactus is about 45 feet tall and is located in Arizona. This makes the cardon cactus, in reality, the tallest cactus on earth.

Though the cardon cacti I encountered weren’t the tallest giants of this species,  many that I saw were still 20 to 30 feet tall.

Here are some close up shots of this beautiful and exotic plant.I encountered in amazement several other varieties of smaller cacti as well.

Some cacti were even in bloom.

Here is the wooden skeleton of a long deceased cactus.

Ever see an aloe vera in full bloom? Neither had I until now.

Okay, looking for cacti wasn’t the only thing my wife and I did on this excursion. Looking at cacti was a means to an end.

Imagine going to Mexico to ride a camel—on the beach no less!

On more camel shot. I grew up on a farm and I love animals. What can I say?

And here’s a final cactus picture. This one is from Maui, Hawaii. Yes, catcus in the desert area of SE Maui just feet from the beach and palm trees. No kidding! Deserts and cactus are not the stereotypical scenes one sees in the picture post cards of Hawaii, to be sure, but I was there a year ago and saw it myself.

This is a non-native naturalized prickly pear cactus that was introduced into Maui in the 1800s apparently as cattle fodder. They get large there—about 20 feet tall.


While I was taking this photo I heard and then saw a barking deer nearby. No kidding, a barking deer! I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. Look up the “barking deer of Maui” online. It’s quite a story!

Amazing Trees—The Unique and the Odd (the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska and more)

Celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of trees. Please enjoy! (All photos by Nathan or Sandi Lawrence)

A 4,500 Year-Old tree Tree Stump. This ancient Sitka spruce relic is located at Beverly Beach State Park on Oregon coast.

Spirit Lake at Mount Saint Helens. Almost 40 years after the 1980 Mount Saint Helens volcanic eruption, Spirit Lake is still covered with floating old growth conifer logs.

“Healed” Tree Stump. In a forest of Douglas fir trees, when a tree is cut down and stump is left, you’ll sometimes find the tree stump healed over. Why is this? This is because all the tree roots are connected—a literal family of trees—and when one is wounded the remaining living trees heal the wound of the cut tree to prevent diseases from entering into the tree family.

New growth is already beginning to form on this “dead” fir stump. Eventually, the top of the stump will be healed over.

A Wysteria “Tree.” This wysteria vine in complete bloom covers this entire 60 foot tall spruce tree near Forest Grove, Oregon.

Ghost Forest, in Neskowin, Oregon. These spruce trees are thousands of years old and landed on the beach when an earthquake occurred and the tree-covered cliffs above slid into the Continue reading