The Tree Quiz

Lauren Lubas

Which of these has never killed a tree?

A tree can keep growing as long as nothing kills it. It never dies from old age. However, if it doesn't have enough water, if too many bugs eat it or the roots rot, it will die. It kind of makes you think about how old a tree can actually get.

Do you know what kind of tree this is?

You may know it as a redwood tree. They are often found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. These trees are so large and vast that their canopy holds species not yet discovered by scientists.

On which continent will you never find a pine tree?

That's right; pine trees grow everywhere except Antarctica. While they may look a little different in the warmer regions, they are all related, and you can simply look around wherever you are to feel like you're at home.

Trees can do a lot. Which of these is something a tree CAN'T do?

While you can use various parts of a tree to create painting tools, a tree itself cannot create a painting. However, we're sure if you give it enough time to learn, it might be able to figure it out.

Before core sampling, how did scientists learn the age of trees?

To figure out the age of trees, scientists had to cut them down and count their rings. Imagine the scientist who cut down a 4,900-year-old tree just to see how old it was. What a tragedy.

Can trees and shrubbery increase the value of your home?

Having well-placed and maintained trees around your home will increase its value as well as decrease the time it is on the market. However, if your trees are overgrown and surrounded by weeds, you might have a problem.

Do you know how much carbon a tree can absorb each year?

We all know that trees absorb carbon and turn it into oxygen. However, not many of us realize that trees can only absorb about 48 pounds of carbon a year. All of the trees in America only absorb 10% of our emissions.

What kind of tree is this?

You can spot a ginkgo biloba pretty easily by looking at its leaves. They are fan-shaped and have several different healing properties. Ginkgo trees used to go by the name maidenhair tree.

About how many pounds of almonds can one tree produce?

A total of 50 to 65 pounds of almonds from a single tree might not seem like a lot, but when you consider how many trees are in an almond orchard, you soon realize that a good yield might look like around 4,500 pounds of almonds in a season.

Can you identify this tree?

Weeping willows are probably some of the most identifiable trees in the United States. The Wisconsin weeping willow is a fast growing tree, reaching nearly 40 feet high in just a few years.

Do you know how much of the United States is covered in trees?

That's right, nearly 1/3 of the United States is a forest area. While you might think this is a lot, remember that these trees only absorb about 10% of our carbon emissions every year.

What chemical in trees turns water and sunlight into energy?

Trees absolutely need their leaves to live. The leaves of trees turn sunlight and water into sugar and energy for the trees with the help of chlorophyll. If you're old enough, you remember the "Billy Madison" scene that explains this.

When trees live in the city, they don't last long. What is the life expectancy of an urban tree?

In general, trees in urban areas and cities don't grow to be very big. There are several reasons for this. First of all, their root structures can damage building foundations, and they have to be removed, and secondly, city conditions aren't so perfect for a tree's life.

Can you identify this tree by its leaves?

Pawpaw trees don't look like much, but they are fruit-bearing trees that are considered the largest in North America. The pawpaw fruit is a tropical fruit that is a mix between a banana, a mango and citrus.

How tall is the tallest tree in the United States?

The tallest tree currently living in the United States is over 2,000 years old, and it can be found in the Redwood National Park (California). It is a coastal redwood tree (of course) that is taller than most buildings.

Which part of the tree grows into the ground?

Tree roots grow to find water in the ground. This helps them live during freezing months as well as when weather conditions are harsh. Roots are very strong, and they can even penetrate cement and rock.

Do you know what the crown of a tree is?

When you look at an image of a tree, you usually see the big set of leaves that makes the top. This is the crown. Those leaves are held to branches making the shape of the entire tree.

What are the two types of trees?

To put it simply, a deciduous tree loses its leaves in the winter, and an evergreen doesn't. While there are several species under each category of trees, knowing that the two are different can help you pass this quiz.

Do you know what the absolute center of the trunk is called?

Every tree has a small dark spot in the middle of the trunk. You can only see it if you take a core sample or cut the tree down. The pith carries nutrients up to different parts of the tree to ensure growth.

Which part of the tree contains the hardest wood?

Heartwood separates sapwood from the pith of the tree. It helps support the tree as it grows and it is usually a darker shade than the rest of the trunk of the tree. It is made of dead sapwood.

Can you name the part of the tree that helps it grow wider?

The cambium is found between the bark and the sapwood of a tree. It is usually a thin layer of cells. You can feel it if you pull the park off of a tree. As the cambium hardens, it leaves a ring on the trees, which is how we tell their age.

All of these grow on trees, except one. Which one doesn't grow on trees?

Tomatoes grow on vines where avocados, apples, and bananas all grow on different kinds of trees. Fruit-bearing trees grow in orchards (not farms), and they require a lot of water to ensure healthy yields.

What is the name of this tree?

The Eastern cottonwood tree is usually found in the eastern United States. They get their name from the way their seeds spread — it basically looks like it's raining cotton balls throughout town.

Can you name this tall tree?

The bark of white oak isn't white. As a matter of fact, white oak trees get their name from their leaves. There is a white underside to the leaves. White oak trees can grow about 1 to 2 feet per year.

If you have a healthy, mature tree on your property, how much do you think you can sell it for?

People buy mature trees for more than lumber and paper production. Some cities purchase large evergreen trees for their holiday exhibitions, and some large companies purchase mature trees for their landscaping.

Can you estimate how many trees are currently in the United States?

Every once in a while, the United States takes inventory of its forests. The last inventory showed that there are nearly 247 billion trees that have a diameter of over 1 inch living in the United States right now.

About how many leaves would you find on a mature tree?

While it depends on what species of tree you're looking at, some larger trees can have up to 200,000 leaves at a time (as long as they're healthy and mature). That's a lot of raking, come autumn.

Are you able to identify this fruit-bearing tree?

There are dozens of different kinds of stone fruits, and peaches are one of them. They have thin skin that is covered in fir (or fuzz). They are one of the most delicate fruits available for sale in the United States.

Koala bears will only eat the leaves of this tree. What is it?

While you may think that your bath is relaxing with eucalyptus oil in it, there are tons of other uses for this tree. The nectar makes delicious honey, and the leaves have healing elements to them.

This tree produces high quality nuts. What is it?

Pistachios are one of the most expensive nuts you can get per pound, but they are worth every penny. You can make pretty much everything out of them, because they are a softer nut.

What is the name of this flowery tree?

The star magnolia gets its name from the flowers that blossom on it. As you may have guessed, these flowers are star-shaped. These trees are native to Japan, but they can be transported easily when they are young.

Can you name this unique-looking tree?

Dragon blood trees or Socotra dragon trees get their name mainly from their sap. It is a red sap that makes it look as though the tree is bleeding from time to time. This can be frightening if you don't know a lot about trees.

This palm tree has very large seeds. What is it?

Coconuts have a lot of different definitions. However, when you look at it from a strictly scientific perspective, the coconut is a seed that grows on trees. It's a seed that has a lot of flesh and produces milk, but it's a seed nonetheless.

Which of these is not a palm tree?

There are dozens of different species of palm trees. However, there is no fir palm available for sale. Perhaps one day someone will cross breed the genes and mess with the DNA to make one.

These trees look like little pineapples. Do you know what they are?

Bottle palms (or hyophorbe lagenicaulis) are stout palm trees that look very much like large bottles or jugs. When pruned properly, these trees make for excellent landscaping choices in the American Southwest.

How long can an avocado stay ripe on the tree before it dies?

That's right; an avocado can stay ripe on the tree for nearly a year before it dies or needs to be harvested. That means (and follow along here) that avocados are ALWAYS in season. However, farmers have decided to do large harvests only a few times a year (which is why our avocados are so expensive).

Can you name this Hawaiian tree?

Koa trees are the second most common tree that can be found in Hawaii. The word Koa in Hawaiian means brave or fearless (or even warrior). We suppose you have to be a brave tree to live where volcanoes erupt.

Do you know if a tree can freeze to death?

Trees can freeze to death, but the truth is many cold climate trees freeze a little bit each year anyway. They don't die from freezing, because once they thaw they require nutrients again, and their cycle continues.

This small tree is really popular. What is it?

In case you weren't aware, there is an entire subculture of bonsai enthusiasts who grow, trim and sculpt bonsai trees as a hobby. If you want to sign up, you simply have to contact your local bonsai enthusiast branch.

What is tree grafting?

There is an art called tree grafting that brings multiple trees together to create sculptures. Each sculpture can take nearly 30 years to complete, but it is possible. What you do is cut into the trunks or branches of two trees, then tie them together at the wet part. They grow into one another, making a seamless root.

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Image: Artur Debat/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Trees are some of the most beautiful, most mythical natural elements on earth, and when we behold their majesty, we realize just how small we really are. From the towering sequoias in the Pacific Northwest to the colorful cherry blossoms found in Japan, trees have been the subject of philosophers' pondering dating back to when words and thoughts were first recorded.

Trees hold magic that we can't explain. Their years on this planet far surpass ours, and we look to them to find peace, understanding and wisdom. In movies, literature and television, trees have powers, and they are the stuff legends and prophecies are made of. They are the tallest representation of the natural world, and they give us a sense that we are not alone (and we like it that way). You know that they hold great beauty, and you know that they're resilient, but what else do you know about them?

This quiz is all about trees. You'll be asked questions about how they grow, how long they live, and even their native lands. Let's see how much of a dendrophile you really are. Take this tree quiz, and you might just learn something new about these tall wonders.

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