Monday, January 11, 2016

Chumbawumba tree

Trees are admirably resilient organisms and it usually takes a lot to kill one outright. They can be broken by gales, struck by lightning, flooded, droughted or cut down to ground level and they'll still sprout new growth when spring arrives. Even when they're infected with a fatal fungal disease it can take years for them to die, while all the while they continue to produce seeds. It takes something pretty cataclysmic to kill most trees stone dead.

This rowan, in Backstone bank wood in Weardale, reminds me of the Chumbawumba tune Tubthumping, with its chorus I get knocked down/I get up again/you're never gonna keep me down. If you are not familiar with this particular earworm you can listen to it here. Don't listen for too long - you might never get it out of your head.

It's a mature rowan that was blown over in a gale over fifteen years ago. The windward roots snapped but the leeward roots remained intact and embedded in the soil, so it continued to grow and produce new vertical shoots from the fallen trunk which is slowly subsiding into the woodland floor and is now covered by a carpet of moss. Those new shoots have grown into half a dozen tall, straight trees in their own right.

Where once there was one rowan, now there is a whole row of them. Resilience.

(Double-click on the pictures for a larger, clearer image)


  1. Wonderful heartening reminder that nature can be resilient given the terrible things we humans do to it. It's hard to know when we need to intervene or when we need to leave well alone.

  2. It is amazing how resilient they are and I am thankful for it.


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