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The Spookiest Trees for Your Halloween

bald cyrpress
Bald Cypress / Mike DelGaudio / Flickr / CC by 2.0
If you've never thought of a tree as creepy, think back to memories of the grouchy apple trees in Wizard of Oz or the Whomping Willow from the Harry Potter series. There's something undeniably sinister about their armlike branches and the way you can sometimes see faces in their bark. Certain species are creepier than others, with traits or stories that will send a shiver up your spine. Here are five of the world's most frightening trees:


1. Bald Cypress

The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) grows in the southeast U.S. This tree is spooky not only because it thrives in swamps infested with snakes and gators; it often grows anthropomorphic roots called pneumatophores, that protrude from the water and look like twisted, skeletal hands, fingers, and bodies. These kind of roots are believed to help send oxygen down to drowned roots below and  act as an anchor.

Bloodwood Tree / Photo Credit: Alejandra Sotelo Faderland


2. "Bloodwood" Trees

The bloodwood tree (Haematoxylum campechianum) is a type of teak that grows in southern Africa near the Namibia-Angola border. Its bark would make you think it's like any other hardwood tree, but what flows underneath will make your skin crawl. The bloodwood tree gets its name from the bright-red sap that it "bleeds" when the tree is cut or wounded. Like human blood, the sap these trees ooze actually seals their cuts and heals them.



Plinia cauliflora 2
Brazilian Grapetree / Adriano Ferreira / Flickr / CC by 2.0

3. Brazilian Grapetrees

If you suffer from trypophobia, consider scrolling past this one. This odd tree is known in South America as Jabuticaba (Plinia cauliflora). Though it grows only in tropical areas of Brazil with lots of sunshine, it can look quite eerie when it produces its signature purple fruits. These fruits are often compared to grapes in flavor. These grow all over the bark of the tree rather than from its branches as other fruit-bearing trees would.


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Sandbox Tree / TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

4. The Sandbox Tree
The Sandbox tree (Hura crepitans) wants to kill you. These tall trees are covered with spikes all over it's bark
. In addition, its caustic sap is poisonous and may blind you if it accidentally goes into your eyes. The fruits of sandbox tree are also poisonous. Evolution decided that this tree needed one more defense mechanism. Yes, the fruits of sandbox tree dry into seed capsules and explode with a loud bang and fling their hard seeds with a speed of up to 150 mph to distances of about 60 feet! Because of this, this tree is also referred to as the "Dynamite Tree".


5. The Devil's Tree

800px The Devil's Tree
Devil's Tree / Daniel Case / CC BY.SA 3.0

This solitary oak tree grows in an undeveloped field on Mountain Road in New Jersey. Local legend suggests that this tree is cursed: that those who damage or disrespect the tree will soon come to some sort of harm, often in the form of a car accident or major breakdown as they leave. In winter, the ground beneath the tree is allegedly free from snow, no matter how much has fallen or how recently. A nearby boulder called "Heat Rock", and sometimes the tree itself, are said to be warm to the touch regardless of the season or time of day, and is claimed to be a portal to hell. But we sure aren't willing to test if this local legend is true!


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