Can You Get More Than 11 Right on This Tree Knowledge Quiz?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Phaitoon Sutunyawatchai/Moment/Gettty Images

About This Quiz

In 1914, Joyce Kilmer composed a famous poem with the simple title of “Trees.” The first lines – which are now iconic – are, “I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree.” Trees are more than poetic masterpieces. They’re powerful natural forces that offer major benefits to countless lifeforms all over the Earth. How high can you climb in this challenging tree knowledge quiz?

Trees are found in many shapes, sizes, and colors, all of which are determined by the quality of the ecosystem in which they’re found. Regions with plentiful water supplies and gentle climates tend to generate incredible tree diversity. Deserts, on the other hand, weed out all but the hardiest species, types that can seize and hold water during long periods of drought. Do you know anything about the various types of trees?

Although trees vary from place to place, they all have some structural similarities. For example, they’re all categorized as vascular plants. How much do you know about the structures found in common trees?

Crawl into the shade of this tree quiz and take a break from your day. Take this tree test now!

They are all much the same. In which plant category do all trees belong?

Trees aren't annuals, they're perennials. That means they'll keep coming back, season after season, until they've reached the end of their lifespans.


All trees have this characteristic. What is it?

All trees are woody creatures. The qualities of that wood varies greatly by species, location and health.


They are the NBA stars of the plant world. Most plants in this category of trees grow to a minimum of what height?

To be sure, there are plenty of shorter trees in the world. But most trees grow to a height of at least 20 feet, and often much, much taller.


It seals and assists. What's the purpose of tree bark?

Some trees have rough bark, others have smooth, skin-like bark. But all bark is the same in that it's meant to offer protection from the environment.


What sort of tree makes up what is called one of the single biggest organisms on Earth?

In Utah, there is a colony of aspens called Pando, the Trembling Giant. The colony has about 47,000 trees (more than 6,600 tons) regarded as one organism … perhaps the second-largest organism on the planet (after a huge Oregon fungal colony).


They don't need scepters. But which trait do most tree species have?

Trees generally have long branches that reach to the skies. These branches terminate in a leafy crown that makes trees so distinctive.


It's all about change. What's special about deciduous trees?

Each year, deciduous trees lose their leaves at the end of the growing season. Then, the following year, those leaves begin growing back, starting with buds.


Methuselah is often regarded as the oldest tree in the world. How old is it?

In California's White mountains you'll find Methuselah, perhaps the world's oldest tree. Scientists estimate this tree is around 4,700 years old.


What sort of tree is Methuselah, the oldest tree on the planet?

Methuselah, a tree in California, is a bristlecone pine that's more than 4,700 years old. The tree's location is kept secret to prevent attention-seeking vandals from destroying it.


Evergreens aren't just evergreens. They also go by which name?

Evergreens are also conifers because they produce cones. Cones fall to the ground and scatter the plant's seeds, ensuring future generations.


How do scientists determine how old a tree might be?

Every year, trees typically grow a bit in the wet season, and then cell production slows during dry or cold periods. The growth rings of these cells are useful in determining the tree's age.


What's the nickname of the world's biggest tree (by mass)?

In the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park of California, you'll find the General Sherman tree, a huge giant sequoia. From base to tippy top, the tree is nearly 275 feet tall. It is -- by mass -- the world's biggest tree.


They are green-friendly. What's one way trees benefit humans?

Trees are incredibly useful to humans. Not only do they provide precious shade, but they filter our air, provide certain types of medicine, and much more.


They are truly durable creatures. Trees don't die of what?

Unlike most creatures, trees don't die of old age. They succumb to many other threats, though, from diseases to environmental changes and more.


There are many, many types. About how many tree species are there on Earth?

Trees grow in almost all of Earth's climates and regions, from deserts to mountaintops. There are about 60,000 different species.


It's a repurposing of sorts. What is tree bark made from?

Tree bark is vital to the plant's health, offering protection from all manner of hazards. The bark is made up of dead cells that have desiccated on the plant's exterior.


In trees, what's the incredibly important purpose of phenols?

Trees have all sorts of defense mechanisms. Volatile phenolic compounds are one way the plants ward off pests -- the chemicals may call in predators that keep invaders at bay.


Let's get to the center of the matter. What is the center core of a tree's trunk called?

At the tree trunk's core is the heartwood. The heartwood is typically darker in color than the rest of the truck, and it's important in providing stiffness to the trunk.


These species share a kinship. Pines and firs are known as what?

Some types of trees, like pines and firs, are known as evergreens. Their iconic green needles remain on the tree's branches for years, unlike deciduous leaves, which are shed annually.


It is a true giant. How tall is the tallest tree on Earth?

In California, there exists a tree named Hyperion, a 380-foot tall redwood. Like other prized trees, the location of this one is secret so that no one will be tempted to damage it.


It's a true survivor. Pine trees grow on how many continents?

Pine trees are robust creatures capable of withstanding many environments. The only continent where they're not found is Antarctica.


Oak trees rely on acorns for reproduction. A big such tree might drop how many acorns in a single year?

As homeowners know, large oaks can generate copious numbers of acorns. A big tree might hurl 10,000 -- or more -- acorns in one season.


It might seem strange, but it's true. What's a unique fact about tree cones?

The next time you see a pine tree, you can start guessing -- is it dropping boy or girl cones? All cones carry just one sex in hopes of reproducing the species.


It's bigger than some houses. How wide is the widest tree on Earth?

In Mexico you'll find the Arbol del Tule, a Montezuma cypress. This enormous tree is more than 38 feet in diameter … perhaps making your first aparment look small by comparison.


It's a pattern of survival. How might a "mother" tree benefit smaller trees around it?

In forests, not all trees are the same. Central "mother" trees often use fungal networks in the soil to send excess nutrients to smaller trees … thereby strengthening the forest as a whole.


More than half of all tree species exist where?

Trees are common, but species aren't always widespread. In fact, a little more than half of all known tree species grow in a single country, demonstrating how important it is for each nation to conserve its resources.


It's a critical function. What's the purpose of xylem in a tree?

Plants need water, and that water must move somehow. Xylem cells have particularly thick walls that make them appropriate for their purpose -- water transportation.


Trees can be thirsty creatures. A large oak might guzzle how much water per day?

Trees require a lot of water; the bigger the tree, the more water it needs. A huge oak might chug 100 gallons of water in a single day.


In comparison to Earth's age, how long have trees been around?

Trees are new kids on the block. Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Trees didn't appear until about 400 million years ago.


Their numbers have plummeted. What's one reason there are about half as many trees as there were 12,000 years ago?

The Earth has far fewer trees than it did before humans began cultivating crops. Agriculture and its associated land usage has cut tree numbers by about half since 12,000 years ago.


The vast majority of tree roots are found at which level of soil?

Many trees put down deep roots. But in most cases, tree roots are found no more than 18 inches deep.


It's a huge sprawl of trees. The Amazon rainforest creates about how much of Earth's oxygen annually?

The Amazon rainforest is vital to oxygen production on Earth. Each year, this 2.1 million square mile area generates about 20 percent of the planet's oxygen.


Subtropical deciduous forests drop their leaves in response to which condition?

In tropical and subtropical regions, it's not seasons that trigger leaves to fall. Instead, it's rainfall (or lack thereof) that starts this process each year.


All trees vary in this process. How does the white birch shed its bark?

You'll have to forgive the white birch for the messes it makes. It leaves ragged horizontal strips of bark as it move through its life cycle.


In 1994, scientists found the Wollemia tree, which they previously thought had gone extinct when?

In a discovery that still floors researchers, in 1994, the Wollemia (a cone-bearing evergreen) was found living in Australia. The catch? Scientists were sure it had gone extinct 150 million years earlier.


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