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What is your favorite tree and why?

 
gardener
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I can't choose a favourite, so I'll just mention one I've always admired even though it has its downsides - I think Monkey Puzzle trees are neat! (Araucaria araucana). I've planted one, but I know it won't likely fruit until I'm gone but they do produce edible nuts if you're lucky enough to have planted a female. On the plus side, the deer don't eat them. On the downside, the reason the deer don't eat them is because they're *really* prickly.
 
Posts: 53
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
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There is no way I can pick one tree.  I won't even try.  Here's a list of some favorites (I'm in south Florida):

Banyan - EPIC, one tree can become an entire forest if the aerial roots are allowed to touch the ground.  Really great for climbing.  Also they are related to figs, so I'm biased.
Mango - Best fruit around, and old trees are all over the place in my area.  You can't live in S Florida and not be in anticipation of mango season all year.
Fig - Amazing fruit, super easy to grow, not to mention all the historical accounts of fig trees and their significance.  Really wide range too.  Lots of fig enthusiasts out there.
Moringa - Duh, it's the miracle tree.  I have about 20 of them planted around my yard.  Just really fun to grow.

There are plenty of other native or non food producing trees I admire, although I can't grow them.  Live oak forests are amazing.  Slash pines too.  

A few others I'm growing in my nursery that I'm pretty excited about are black sapote, carambola, jackfruit, sapodilla, loquat, dwarf poinciana, and I am about to start some bottlebrush tree seeds.  Pretty excited for that one although it is native to Australia, not Florida.
 
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Willow.
Medicinal, good climbing tree, and indicates presence of groundwater.
Can be used for firewood.
Can be used to grow living fences.
Can be used to quickly make a low quality bow, a fishtrap, or a basket.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1022
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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Well simple answer my favorite tree is which ever tree I am currently hugging, sitting under, enjoying the dappled sun looking up through the branches, or otherwise appreciating.

The longer answer is there is no way to pick just one.

I am a fan of the Paulownia after seeing how amazing they can be living at Arcosanti.

I sure wish I could grow moringa in my area, but sadly it gets too cold for these wonderful trees.

Love me some hazelnut trees, as they are amazingly useful trees.

Can't forget the wonderful weeping willows.

Being from the PNW, gotta give my love to the Doug fir.

The redwoods aren't anything to go underappreciated either.

Quaking aspen are wonderful in a light breeze.

And the wonderful flammable birch bark I envy for Bushcrafters who have birch in their area, not to mention the ability to make birch bark canoes.

Is there one tree that could be the end all favorite for me? Nope. They are like snowflakes, each beautiful in their own different ways. Even trees of the same species each have their own personalities and it is hard to pick one over the other.

Since however this is a thread in the fruit tree subsection, my favorite fruit tree would have to be olive trees. Because I love how they grow, as well as the olive picking at Arcosanti when I did my workshop was what inspired me to join the landscaping crew there. So I have a lot of fond memories associated with those wonderful olive trees. It has nothing to do with what they provide or anything practical (though they are great practical trees) but more just associations with good times.
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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At the moment it's the cherry tree out front that is starting to produce this year's cherries.


 
pollinator
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This is like asking  me which is my favorite Miles Davis album. But  citrus probably is close to the top of the list.
 
Posts: 75
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My favorite tree is a beech.It is about 500 years old.Lovers have written their names and a lot of hearts to express their love.I love this tree because it triggers my imagination.It stands there proud and keep a lot of secrets in its inner.I use to ask this tree questions but it i good keeping secrets.
 
Posts: 374
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Crataegus schraderiana.  It makes great jam and is small, pretty and trouble free, and no-one round here realises you can eat it.
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pollinator
Posts: 107
Location: Ontario zone 4b
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as of yet I have many favourite trees all trees are magnificent beings. But I have to say over much consideration my favourite right now would be willow any Salix would do I often think of them as the bamboo of the tree world a very vigorous and amazing plant that grows in the wettest ugliest places extremely multi functional plant with awesome potential to be a pioneer in any landscape they are medicinal easy to coppice make wonderful trellises ,rooting hormone, fences, baskets and firewood all followed by its ability to accumulate biomass and create esthetic beauty. I think everyone should have a willow very useful beautiful tree. only downside I would give it is that many suggest not to plant it close to waterlines septic tanks or weeping tile.
 
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I'm also not going to pick just one. I have seen some beautiful Hickory and Elm trees. I have three giant Douglas Firs that are probably more than 500 years old.

I'm moving to the tropics, so I intend to have moringa, giant luceana and tree lucerne and oil palm for their usefulness. None of them are particularly beautiful trees.

Mango, Jackfruit and about a hundred other fruits grow on quite attractive trees. I'd love to have a banyan.

The one I expect to have the most fun with, will be figs for making those Living Bridges. If Banyan or some type of fruiting vine work for bridging, I will incorporate them. There are a few types of grapes that do well in the tropics and passion fruit vines get quite large. So I'd like to build my own bridge that is useful as a bridge, but also as a place to grow tasty vining fruits. None of the examples I saw out of India seem to be much concerned with food production on the bridge. I'd also like the bridge to be in flower most of the year. That's doable with the right combination of vines. At 8 degrees from the equator I will have more choices then the builders of those really big bridges in India.

I'm going to want to differentiate myself from every other place that has a few palm trees and some sand, in order to attract visitors. Sculptural stuff with trees will be part of that.
 
Posts: 275
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Hmmm, tough choice. Ask me again another time, and I will likely answer differently, but as of this moment...

I'm going to say breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). It grows into such a towering tree (the specific epithet, altilis, means approximately, "growing in the heights'); its leaves are really cool looking; and it grows like an inverse banyan, i.e. wherever a root reaches the surface, it sends up a new trunk, so that one tree eventually becomes a whole grove. The fruits while still firm are a good source of daily calories (if Christ had been born in Polynesia instead of the Middle East, the Paternoster might say, "give us this day our daily breadfruit"), and as it ripens and becomes mushy, it also sweetens. Either way, it is so filling, I can't eat it in one meal, but have to spread it over two meals. Once, as I walked home after a weary day, I came upon a familiar young breadfruit tree by the roadside and I just had to stop and hug her, I loved her so much. She had provided me with so many tasty meals, I was overwhelmed with gratitude!

I have to mention a few others, "runners-up," we might say...

Caribbean prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum caribaeum): its thorny trunk means cows are unlikely to push over a fence made from it, and its leaves are food for several species of swallowtails.
Guacimo (Guazuma ulmifolia): I was introduced to this tree while an undergrad student, on my first trip outside the United States; some of my colleagues nicknamed it the "granola tree."
Coconut (Cocos nucifera): who doesn't love coconut water drunk right out of the nut on a tropical day? Who hasn't seen a travel brochure picturing a perfect beach lined with coconut trees?
 
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My “Flat Wonderful” peach tree.
It’s my favorite because it has purple-red leaves through most of the growing season; then later on in September the leaves start to turn dark green.
Plus, it produces flat peaches that look like doughnuts, or tires, or flying saucers, or what have you; furthermore, these peaches are super Juicy and Delicious!

I love this tree!!!

Would you believe I only planted it three years ago; and, when I got it, it was just a whip no taller than 1’ 6” and 1/4” wide?!?

I live in zone 5, and this is a cold hardy peach tree baby!

=M=
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Jason Hernandez
Posts: 275
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Mark Seasigh wrote:
Plus, it produces flat peaches that look like doughnuts, or tires, or flying saucers, or what have you; furthermore, these peaches are super Juicy and Delicious!



Those are the ones I have seen sold as "Saturn peaches." A former coworker had a little fun with a city slicker who didn't know about them; he said the reason they're so expensive is that they're grown on Saturn!
 
Posts: 37
Location: NE AZ
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Definitely the Witch Hazel, I love their fragrant flowers, you can smell them from a mile away on the breeze. Since they bloom at odd times they are often he only flowers around. Their seed ejection system is crazy cool, shooting seeds up to 30 feet. They are medicinal as well.
 
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Location: India
cat dog bee
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My favourite tree is banyan. Because it's huge.
 
pollinator
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When I was on acreage my favorite tree was the weeping willow.   It was great fodder for ALL my livestock,  shed good amts. of whips and small branches naturally to be gathered/ eaten.   It was also beautiful and a great sturdy shade tree for my grazing animals.    Easy to propagate as most willows are.    On a small property though,  I am torn between beautiful and delicious Juneberry/amelanchier grown as a small multi-trunk tree..     or nice shade producing river birch that shelters birds all year and keeps my house shaded from afternoon sun.   Both leave enough filtered light to grow strawberries, etc. underneath!
 
Posts: 15
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Jay Angler wrote:I can't choose a favourite, so I'll just mention one I've always admired even though it has its downsides - I think Monkey Puzzle trees are neat! (Araucaria araucana). I've planted one, but I know it won't likely fruit until I'm gone but they do produce edible nuts if you're lucky enough to have planted a female. On the plus side, the deer don't eat them. On the downside, the reason the deer don't eat them is because they're *really* prickly.



I second the Monkey Puzzle, or any of it's relatives really. I love all trees, and I'm going to have a huge mix - including a few new to me mentioned in this thread - but I absolutely must hunt down one of these dinosaur trees when I get a place for it. Probably add a few other 'ancient' plants to the same area and add a velociraptor version of a pink flamingo stick just for fun.
 
Posts: 29
Location: wet tropics in Oz
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A Naharudin wrote:My favorite tree is Snake fruit, of course. I'm a snake fruit farmer by the way.

Reasons:

Pro:
- The fruit taste great
- Many health benefits in it
- Makes good/straight posts for fences due to its spines
- Good commodity, even though it's cheap but we can harvest tons of snake fruit
- We can use snake fruit to make a coffee, wine, pickled etc
- It is slowly hitting the global market  
- The fruit is available year round
- It is an exotic fruit

Cons:
- Check out the cons in my homepage here Snake fruit (Salak) explained



Snake fruit is definitely one of my favourite fruits. I was told the tree is so spikey because elephants would eat them and be one of the only creatures to be able to get through the spikes to the delicious fruits!

I also love breadfruits and the large leaves mesmerize me with their shape.

Related to monkey puzzle (though I never heard the monkey tree could have edible nuts) is the deeeeelicious bunya/boonya/bunya bunya nut. A gloriously shaped tree, I often drive past some that are sporadic in some fields, and think they look like giant triffids on their way to get you....or like the alien crafts in Jeff Waynes War of the worlds....but in a nice way! I think I mean to say that they look quite sentient (especially these ones as the corner before has an evil african tulip tree on it for comparison http://bobthebeeman.com.au/african-tulip-tree-ebook.asp)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
pioneer
Posts: 82
Location: Sydney, Australia. Subtropics
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Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii)

Massive (up to 45m), ancient ( been around since the Jurassic) and beautiful
Produces an enormous amount of carbohydrates in the form of nuts
One of the rare foods i can forage in a major city
Lives for hundreds of years
Timber used for guitar soundboards
 
Posts: 108
Location: KY
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That's tough, I also have many favorites

A few off the top of my head...

Ginkgo - Fall time the leaves are vibrant deep yellow, so beautiful

Sycamore - Just love finding a giant monster by a river or creek,
          always been in awe of the bark

Beech - The towering, straight, smooth trunk of an old Beech in the
       woods, wow!

Cypress - A giant cypress w/ it's wild root system at the edge of a
         pond is a wonderful sight

Those are all simply some personal observation favorites. As far as practical uses go I am unsure because I've yet to become the self-sufficient timber man - all wood I've done so far turns into hugulkulture, mulch, of fire

I can imagine cedar being a favorite to work with though? They seem abundant, hardy, and straight!
 
gardener & author
Posts: 1918
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I suppose I would have to pick the fig as my favorite tree, they provide nice shade and good food for humans, birds and some of the four legs.


RedHawk, you might be of this opinion?
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Jason Hernandez
Posts: 275
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Ty Greene wrote:
Ginkgo - Fall time the leaves are vibrant deep yellow, so beautiful



When I am in Temperate Zone places, I like the ginkgo, too! The reason you mentioned, and also the Jurassic factor -- knowing this is likely one of the trees the herbivorous dinosaurs munched. And a very Permaculture-related reason, too: the reason it is popular in cities is because it is known to be highly tolerant of air pollution.

Air pollution tolerance in a Jurassic tree? Children understand -- whenever children draw pictures of dinosaur scenes, there is almost always an erupting volcano in the background! That Jurassic air quality wasn't up to snuff by our standards...
 
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The Liquidambar is A giant shade tree with magnificent maple-like leaves that turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and gold during autumn.
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pollinator
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My favorite tree is our  English Walnut.  The funny thing is I don't even like walnuts.  This tree is the biggest I have ever seen.  The black walnut base is about 10 feet in diameter and the canopy covers the whole back yard. No matter how hard life get, or what troubles are weighing me down, I can sit or lie under it and I feel piece and joy.  It's always cooler, and when you look up you can see small bit of the sky through the leaves.  I can't really explain it, the wise old walnut tree doesn't whisper the answers to my problems in my ear, and yet I always seem to feel better after a little time spent under my favorite tree.
 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:I can't possibly have a "favorite", that is like asking which is your favorite child!



So true, except that the yew tree steels my heart 🥰. They are just the cutest when small and can live for thousands of years. And the arils which encase their seeds are edible, although I would have a yew in my forest garden anyway just because...
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Yew trees at Newby Hall, North Yorkshire, England
 
Helen Butt
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Heather Staas wrote:
When I was on acreage my favorite tree was the weeping willow.   It was great fodder for ALL my livestock,  shed good amts. of whips and small branches naturally to be gathered/ eaten.   It was also beautiful and a great sturdy shade tree for my grazing animals.    Easy to propagate as most willows are.    On a small property though,  I am torn between beautiful and delicious Juneberry/amelanchier grown as a small multi-trunk tree..     or nice shade producing river birch that shelters birds all year and keeps my house shaded from afternoon sun.   Both leave enough filtered light to grow strawberries, etc. underneath!



Willow is such a fantastic tree and another advantage is aspirin. They grow like weeds in my part of the world - well, along the river banks, so not in short supply!
 
pollinator
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So many trees to choose from. Out west it was the honey mesquite and date palms. We'd collect the Mesq pods and nibble or take them to make flour. The dates were a pain the everything. Every year I said it would be the last year I worked the palms. While sitting on the graceful, pokey fronds looking out into the world was a lovely sight. I miss being there, but I also love where I am.

In Western NC, my favorite trees are the chestnut, they are so long lived! Impressive.
And our beautiful red maple that clings to the side of a hill, holding our rope swing.
 
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I didn’t see anyone list apple. For me the apple trees are my favorite because every time I see them I know a huge crop of great food is coming. Some for eating, some for drying, some for baking. The smell of ripe apples and the sheer value of their food bring joy to me. All year there are better looking trees but none so dear to me. I only have to see them and know they will bring their apples in fall/winter and I love them.
 
pollinator
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A tree I admire is Elm, I call them Trashy Elms. Their best quality is being prolific. I've always said they will survive the apocalypse along with cockroaches and rats.
Favorites? Any tree producing edible fruit or nuts on my wanderings through forest and town.
 
gardener
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How did I miss this thread the first time around??

I am a sucker for all trees, particularly fruit trees. Apple, I would say, is the tree closest to my heart, everywhere I have been around the world I've always been close to apple country, and being in an orchard in the fall is one of those things that makes my heart sing. I love apple trees enough that I used them as the theme of a large tattoo (along with another favorite... tea!)

But even though any massive tree will drive me to speechless, the false-rubber tree (Ficus elastica) will touch my soul every time. These enormous trees dominate urban centers here in Brazil, I have seen people living in them, and they often actually become pests, but if any tree ever decided to bust out and reclaim the Earth for the forests and Mother Nature (SF nerds: remember the passage in the Gaiman/Pratchett Good Omens where somewhere in Latin America a poor tree in a mall suddenly becomes enormous and takes over the city?), it would be a Ficus elastica.
 
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Avocado!!! Because it takes skill to make it fruit on its own and I have like 50! I am addicted to growing them from seed and making them bear fruit. Plus, they make beautiful house plants.
 
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my favorite tree is fig fruit tree.

pros
easy to grow
low maintence
can be grown in pots
so many varieties to chose from
can be reproduced with cuttings

cons
takes 3 years on average to get first from
birds and other animals seem to love them and harvest them much faster than i can
with the alluring choices of fig varieties it can become a fig addiction
 
pollinator
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This is a tough decision.
My favorite, individual trees are the pecans on my land. While I don't care for the species, as a whole, these trees have known me before I was born; as well as my mother & grandfather. As the 4th generation to be their steward, they give me a sense of being home.

Species-wise, I love Mimosa (Albizia). I named my farm "Mimosa Grove," because I've always protected & encourage any seedlings I find that come up each year.

Bald Cypress is another one I love. The sight of a mature BC in all its glory tends to command my respect. Despite it not being very useful in the permaculture sense, I still collect a ton of seeds every winter to germinate and plant along the fence line for the sole purpose of making me happy.

For bonsai, I love ficus (particularly microcarpa, but the rest are also great). They're very durable & forgiving of my blunders (compared to my mimosa & cypress bonsais), and they've helped me learn a lot about how trees grow.

Willows are awesome, and I fully agree with all of the previous comments about their attributes.

For fruit, it's impossible for me to have a favorite. I love to eat apples & pears, so they are my probably favorite hardy trees. Avocado for the favorite tropical fruit tree I've grown.
 
author
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Hi All, Impossible to choose an outright favourite tree (or shrub) as there are so many with amazing medicinal uses. I am a clinical herbal practitioner in UK and there are many trees/shrubs in the materia medica - native species and introductions (which we can grow) and then there are exotics (which we cannot readily grow).  But, I have had to select 40 trees and shrubs from a long list to put their profiles in my new book 'The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook' which is coming out in April 2020. I have an especially soft spot for Virginian Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) which I am able to grow in south-west UK. I use the prunings in distillation to make a superb anti-inflammatory skin and first aid remedy.
 
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