The Power of Reiteration

Feb 27, 2019

By repeating themselves, trees can revive even after they fail. Branches can become trees of their own. Roots in a hollow can become the source of a new tree. Here, a fallen osage orange has turned two lateral branches into 30 foot tall trees. The one at the end is now putting down its own roots. When the old tree dies, this tree will carry on, genetically identical. This is called phoenix regeneration.

A fallen tree will frequently try to save itself by sprouting one or more new trunks. At first, these new trunks depend upon the survival of the old root system. Eventually, they may put down roots of their own. 

A collapsed lindens creates three new lindens.
You can’t keep a good juniper down.
Nor for that matter a Joshua tree.

A hollow may eventually be the source of the instability that causes a tree to fall, but roots may form inside the hollow. By the time the old tree is unstable, a new tree may have formed from the inside out. 

A hollow ancient oak near Murua in northern Spain, drops a curtain of roots to help it live again.
A paper mulberry has almost completely hollowed, but the new roots within it have generated a new stem that is ready to take over.