9 Weird Trees You Need to See to Believe (Odd Looking)

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Written By Lyrae Willis

Environmental Scientist & Plant Ecologist

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Home » Ancient & Remarkable Trees » 9 Weird Trees You Need to See to Believe (Odd Looking)

While trees are always fascinating to look at, some go above and beyond fascinating to just plain weird, bizarre, and truly peculiar sights to behold.

If you don’t see these photos, or if you were lucky enough to see them in person, you would hardly believe they were real. But they are very real and very unusual!

Let’s take a look at 9 weird trees you need to see to believe!

9 of the Weirdest Looking Trees In the World

1. Baobab the Upside-Down Tree – Adansonia species

Baobab the Upside-Down Tree - Adansonia species

The mighty baobabs are extraordinary trees with massive cylindrical or bottle-like trunks that abruptly end in stout, often horizontal branches at the top that resemble roots, giving it one of its common names, the Upside Down Tree.

There are 8 species of baobab trees, most endemic to Madagascar, with one species in Africa and another in Australia, probably introduced there by early humans.

For countless generations, people have been using these trees for water, food, shelter, and sometimes even to house prisoners while waiting for transport elsewhere.

Most of these bizarre beauties are on IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species.

2. Dragon’s Blood Tree – Dracaena cinnabari, Dracaena draco

Dragon’s Blood Tree - Dracaena cinnabari, Dracaena draco

Dragon’s Blood trees are another peculiar tree that looks upside down, with dense branches that turn upwards to create an umbrella-like crown.

Moreover, their common name comes from the blood-red sap that oozes from its branches like blood.

Finally, what makes them more bizarre is that these trees are succulents more closely related to asparagus than trees.

Dragon’s Blood trees are endemic to the Socotra archipelago in Yemen and are Vulnerable.

Dracaena draco from the Canary Islands shares the same common name, but the Socotra one is arguably more bizarre-looking.

These weird looking trees are becoming increasingly popular in bonsai trees.

3. Rainbow Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus deglupta

Rainbow Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta

The Rainbow Eucalyptus has bizarre exfoliating bark that is so colorful that it looks like someone may have painted it as a practical joke. But it is real!

Its thin bark is orange-tinted and shreds in long vertical strips, revealing streaks of pale green, red, orange, gray, and purplish-brown.

Rainbow Eucalyptus is native to rainforests of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, where its bark creates a colorful palette against the rest of the green.

This eccentric tree is now considered invasive in many parts of the world, including parts of the USA.

4. Bottle Tree – Pachypodium lealii

Bottle Tree - Pachypodium lealii

The Bottle Tree is a strange succulent deciduous tree with a thick bottle-shaped trunk that is nearly branchless until the top, where its few branches spread out and are covered by thorns.

This weird tree produces beautiful white flowers with fringed petals clustered at their branch tips.

Bottle Trees are endemic to Namibia and southern Angola, where it thrives in high heat in rocky soils in desert and semi-desert areas.

Like most members of the Apocynaceae family, it exudes a milky latex. The locals use this latex in poison arrows, and if it gets in your eyes, you can go blind.

5. Sandbox Trees – Hura polyandra, Hura crepitans

Sandbox Trees - Hura polyandra, Hura crepitans

Sandbox Trees make the weird list for their thorny trunks, bizarre-looking flowers, and large fruits that resemble baseball-sized pumpkins. The pumpkin-like fruits literally explode when ripe and launch their large seeds at an astonishing 160 m/h (250 km/h)!

While both species are called sandbox trees, named in colonial times when the empty fruits were used as ink blotters, another name for Hura crepitans is Monkey-No-Climb; if you look at the bark, you will see why!

Hura polyandra is native to Mexico and Guatemala, while Hura crepitans is more widespread from tropical North America south to tropical South America.

Sandbox Trees Hura polyandra
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work – for Tree Vitalize

6. Brazilian Grape Tree – Plinia cauliflora

Brazilian Grape Tree - Plinia cauliflora

The Brazilian Grape Tree, or Jabuticaba in Brazilian Portuguese, is a unique tree that produces large, thick-skinned purple berries directly on its trunk and older branches instead of on younger branches or stalks like most trees. The way the fruits grow makes them look like the tree is infested with giant purple warts.

The tart-sweet fruits are popular in their native Brazil, where they are typically picked and eaten fresh, like grapes, or made into jams, cakes, juices, or wine.

The local Guarani people call it yvapurũ, meaning “crunchy fruit” for the distinctive crunchy sound it makes when eaten.

7. The Great Banyan Tree – Ficus benghalensis

The Great Banyan Tree - Ficus benghalensis

Banyan Trees are the largest trees in the world in terms of their canopy spread (not volume or height).

These unusual trees have aerial roots on their branches that grow downward like vines. When they reach the ground, they root and become woody trunks that may stand separate from the tree or surround the original main trunk of the tree in a gnarled mass of trunk-like roots.

The Great Banyan Tree is a significant tourist destination in India for its 3772 prop roots that look like trees themselves, creating a massive canopy that spreads over 1.89 hectares (4.67 acres).

8. Monkey Puzzle Tree – Araucaria araucana

Monkey Puzzle Tree - Araucaria araucana

The Monkey Puzzle Tree is an interesting tree that looks like a pine tree from a distance, giving it one of its common names, the Chilean Pine. But when you get up close, you notice its reptilian-looking bark and branches and bizarre scale-like leaves that are triangular and unlike any other conifer tree.

They are sometimes called living fossils from an ancient family of evergreen trees mostly confined to the southern hemisphere. This one is native to the lower slopes of the Chilean and Argentine south-central Andes mountains, where they are called the pewen tree.

9. Tree of Life in Bahrain – Prosopis cineraria

Tree of Life in Bahrain (Prosopis cineraria)

The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) is a Ghaf tree located at the highest point of Bahrain on a barren hill in the Arabian desert. It is 32 feet (9.75 m) tall and is over 400 years old, possibly planted by human inhabitants of the area.

This lone tree survives in a barren landscape with no access to water, making it weird enough to make the weird list.

It is a popular tourist destination, with some believing it is a remnant from the Garden of Eden; others believe it has developed ways to extract water from the sand or air.

Weird Trees That Will Make You Look Twice

Trees are always fascinating, but weird trees like these are beyond your normal expectations. You genuinely need to see them, if not in person, then in photographs, to believe they are real.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about some of the most bizarre beauties on this fascinating planet of ours. Keep it weird, and keep it interesting!

I wrote a post on the oldest trees in the world as well which is a very interesting read I recommend.

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Lyrae Willis

Environmental Scientist & Plant Ecologist

Lyrae grew up in the forests of BC, Canada, where she got a BSc. in Environmental Sciences. Her whole life, she has loved studying plants, from the tiniest flowers to the most massive trees. She is currently researching native plants of North America and spends her time traveling, hiking, documenting, and writing. When not researching, she is homeschooling her brilliant autistic son, who travels with her and benefits from a unique hands-on education about the environment around him.