Thursday 6 June 2024

ents and huorns (11. 612)

Via tmn, we directed to the thirty-two metre tall lone rฤtฤ (Metrosideros robusta) on the west coast of South Island that’s been picked by the public as New Zealand’s Tree of the Year. Given the nickname “The Walking Tree” after JRR Tolkien’s motile, sentient arboreal characters due to appearance of being frozen in mid-stride, the unusual lifecycle of the rฤtฤ bears out the comparison as well with the seeds germinating as hemiepiphyte high in the forest canopy (conspicuously absent for this exemplar) before slowly lowering roots that descend to the ground, forming a hollow pseudo-trunk around its host composed of interlocking rhizomes, and can live upwards of a thousand years. Threatened, replanting and rehabilation campaigns have seen their return.  In contrast to the Ents of Middle Earth (see also, Tolkien invented the army as a more satisfying belligerent for the coming of “Great Birnam Wood to Dunsinane” of Macbeth) that become more tree-like as they age, a huorn is undergoing the process of becoming more animated.