Strange names, weird looks Crazy stories & Rare Trees

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Blog entry by California Urban Lumber posted 06-08-2009 05:11 PM 2953 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Most people know about trees like Pine, Oak, Maple & Walnut (if you’re in woodworking and haven’t heard of those trees, you’re either in the wrong business or on the wrong planet); but there are some trees you don’t hear about every day. Trees can be fun, dangerous, or just plain old strange. Check it out:

10. The Elephant Tree: These trees are relatively short, growing to about 10’. Their trunks and branches are reminiscent of an elephant’s legs and trunk, hence the name (duh). But the most interesting thing about this tree, is the fact that it is SO rare, it wasn’t until 1937 that people actually acknowledged that this tree even exists. It probably didn’t help that it only grows in the desert, and I can’t imagine many people back then would have decided to brave the desert’s extreme temperatures just to hang out and look for new trees. In fact, people still don’t do that, but we do have stuff like “Burning Man” and water trucks, so maybe someone will be inspired.

9. The Kentucky Coffee Tree: This tree has been in the middle of one of Kentucky’s fiercest battles to be dubbed as the state of Kentucky’s official tree. Its competition? None other than that menacing Tulip Poplar. Members of the Kentucky legislature divided themselves into groups of “Poplars” and “Coffee Trees” and deliberated for years over which hardwood would be the next “Kentucky Idol”, I mean, State Tree. Eventually, the Poplar won out in 1994, probably by bribing the officials with its green, (awful, awful pun). Never the less, it’s true! The Coffee Tree is naked for 6 months out of the year and can’t compete in beauty.

8. Sassafras: That’s just one of my favorite words.

7. Cucumber Tree: Cucumbers do NOT grow on this tree. It’s unripened fruit looked like baby cucumbers, and because people like to relate things to other things, it became the cucumber tree. Don’t eat these “cukes” you will be sorely disappointed…and possibly very sick.

6. PawPaw Tree: This tree is fun to talk about because it is entertaining to say the word PawPaw. Well, it is to me anyway. Apparently, it also yields some pretty yummy banana-tasting like fruit that Native Americans enjoyed for years as the tree was plentiful. The tree is now endangered in New York and New Jersey. Sorry guys, no more delicious fruit for you!

5. Lemonade Sumac: Do NOT go making lemonade out of poison sumac. This is truly a specific kind of berry that apparently tastes like lemons. Native Americans made “lemonade” out of these hairy red berries for a refreshing beverage, and some people still do today as well. I want to try this!

For more fun tree facts go to our blog, here.

-- California Urban Lumber | The Green Choice |

6 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 06-08-2009 05:48 PM

pretty fun read – thanx!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View johnpoole's profile


74 posts in 2888 days

#2 posted 06-08-2009 05:54 PM

another point of interest is coffin trees.. not even a species, but usually pine.. 150 years ago it was common for a newly married man to plant two trees on either side of the front of the house.. one for his coffin and one for hers..

-- it's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime i want

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3583 days

#3 posted 06-08-2009 06:34 PM

and I just got home with two new trees for my yard: a pawpaw and a coffee tree! Huh! :)

Sassafras is on my list for next year—then I can have fun saying the name when I show people around :D

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View CanadaJeff's profile


207 posts in 3032 days

#4 posted 06-08-2009 07:15 PM

johnpoole, thats pretty interesting and funny. Imagine that, shortly after you say “I do” you prepare for death!

View California Urban Lumber's profile

California Urban Lumber

35 posts in 2787 days

#5 posted 06-08-2009 07:18 PM

Johnpoole- Oh wow! That’s so morbid! God forbid something should happen prematurely, you wouldn’t have much to work with…

MsDebbieP- You will have to let me know how that PawPaw fruit is. I wonder if they sell it in stores….?

-- California Urban Lumber | The Green Choice |

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3583 days

#6 posted 06-09-2009 11:58 AM

the PawPaw fruit doesn’t keep well—it’s pretty much pick it and eat it. That’s why you won’t find it in any stores. My trees are just babies so I have no idea when (or if) I’ll ever get to taste its produce

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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