Why Certain Pine Trees are Starting to Lean

Why Certain Pine Trees are Starting to LeanThe vast majority of pine trees in the world stands straight up and don’t bend over at all. However, Cook pines trees which are native to the South Pacific and exist all over the world, do lean.

If you’ve ever seen a Cook pine tree, you might notice that they lean heavily, almost as if they’re trying to reach out to something.

It turns out that they are, based on a new report from New Scientist. According to that report, California Polytechnic State University professor Matt Ritter wondered why Cook pine trees look the way they do, so he decided to conduct a study on them along with an Australian researcher. They took a look at more than 250 Cook pine trees located on five continents to see if they all leaned the same way. And they found that each and every Cook pine tree they observed did lean, and they all seemed to lean towards the Equator. They published the results of their study in Ecology and reported that Cook pine trees located closer to the Earth’s poles seemed to lean even more than those closer to the Equator. They even found one example of a Cook pine tree leaning almost 40 degrees.

It’s still a little unclear why Cook pine trees lean, while other pine trees don’t. But Ritter believes it’s probably because of phototropism, which is what causes other types of plants to stretch out towards the sun. He suspects Cook pine trees are doing the same thing. Additionally, he suspects that Cook pine trees lack a sensitivity to the gravitational pull of the Earth, known as gravitropism, which is why they are unable to control the bending that they do. It leads them to bend towards the Equator, regardless of where they are located.

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