Whenever you enter into a lush forest, what comes to your mind? “Trees, beast, rivers, and that occasional insect fest.” You’re right if that’s your imagination. As you step in the jungle, you hear the echoes of nature, whispering the sounds of her flora and fauna. Look up … and up … and up as you witness one of nature’s majesty’s; meet Tāne Mahuta, the “Lord of the Forest.”
Related media: Tāne Mahuta The Largest Kauri Tree
Meet The “Lord Of The Forest”
The world’s largest kauri tree, Tāne Mahuta, has that uncommon sight of it’s visit being so overwhelmed by it’s magnificence. The presence at this kauri tree is so overwhelming that sometimes you just can’t help it. The average sized kauri specimen is stunningly massive — the tree exceedingly grow 5 meters (16 feet) around, and a height in excess of 30 meters (100 feet) tall. There’s a reason why any forest that has them is known as a “kauri forest,” regardless of whether they are the dominant species or not.
The “Lord of the Forest,” which was named after the forest god, Māori, it stands so high that it virtually dwarfs all neighboring trees. This kauri tree is a whopping 16 meters (50 feet) around, and stands at a staggering height of 45 meters (148 feet) tall — that’s as tall as a 14-story building. It takes a pretty long ass time for a tree to reach such a height, and Tāne Mahuta is estimated to be roughly 2,500 to 3,000 years old. That suggests that it was probably a sapling during the Bronze Age.
Meet The Family As Well
You might wonder, is the Tāne Mahuta alone? Not at all. While the Lord Of The Forest, that is Tāne Mahuta, holds the record as the largest kauri tree in the world, it has a neighbor, Te Matua Ngahere, the “Father of the Forest,” that holds the record as the stoutest kauri tree in the world. How about that for a family record. Te Matua Ngahere is 17 meters (55 feet) around, … . It’s estimated to be roughly 4,000 years old, that’s even older than when humans invented writing. No wonder these trees have such a massive presence in the cosmology of New Zealand.
Root Rock — That’s An Anchor
You’re wondering again, how on Earth in the amazing name of nature does a tree grow ridiculously stunning? Short answer: Roots. But if you’re guessing the tap root theory, spoiler, kauri trees set themselves apart with a uniquely shallow root network. Unlike most tall trees which tend to nourish themselves with minerals buried underneath the soil by digging deep with their tap roots, kauri trees tend to extend their thin tendrils along the soil and feed off of decomposing organic matter. That’s how to grow massive.
Considering their size, they also need some support to hold up all that mass, so they also have tap roots that don’t gather any nutrients — a sort of anchoring system. But unfortunately, such a feeding system also makes the giant vulnerable. In recent times, the kauri trees have been affected by a new disease known as kauri dieback. Its mainly caused by outside contaminants that seep into the swallow roots, sometimes by wandering creatures and sometimes by the soles of visiting hikers.
Now, if you happen to visit either Tāne Mahuta or Te Matua Ngahere, you need to hose your shoes off first.
Read more facts like this one in your inbox. Sign up for our daily email here.
The Factionary is ever ready to provide you with more interesting content for your reading pleasure. If you’re amazed by our work, you can support us on Patreon by a donation fee of your choice. Thank you!
Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Mar 18, 2019.