16 Amazing Examples of “Crown Shyness”, A Phenomenon Where Trees Avoid Touching

The trees are the jewels of our planet, making it greener and providing us with quality air for breathing. They are multipurpose plants that can be used as fuel, medicine, food, likewise they are beneficial for the environment, attracting rain, saving water, and preventing soil erosion. Not to mention the fact that they are beautiful, elegant with their attractive leaves in various shapes and colors. In addition to this, trees are a natural habitat of many birds and animals.

In a time when social-distancing is a must for the humans, you should know that trees naturally practice it.

Crown shyness

Have you heard of this phenomenon? Did you ever think that they need personal space?

Well, they do and “crown shyness” happens when the uppermost branches of trees avoid touching one another. This phenomenon was first noticed in the 1920s, and it is more common in tropical forests, which tend to have flatter canopies.

However, it is present in other various tree species, such as Sitka spruce, camphor trees, black mangrove trees, eucalyptus, and Japanese larch. There are many theories about its occurrence, and it could be a result of trees rubbing against one another. Some experts believe the reason for its occurrence is the need for better light exposure in order to maximize photosynthesis done by the tree leaves. On the other hand, many believe that this is the trees’ attempt to protect their branches from being cracked and injured by the wind. There is also another theory and that is that it occurs as a result of the spread of harmful insects.

According to conservation nonprofit, Venerable Trees, trees are competing for resources:

“Trees have a highly sophisticated system for measuring light and telling time. They can tell whether light is coming from the sun or if it’s being reflected off leaves. Leaves have been shown to detect far-red light bouncing onto them after hitting trees close by. When they discern that light is being reflected off leaves, that’s a signal: “Hey, there’s another plant nearby, let’s slow down growth in that direction.””

This behavior of trees is another proof how Nature can still surprise with its uniqueness.

Check the photos below and observe the social-distancing of trees: