Ready For Something Mysterious? Check Out These Trees That Lean Towards The Equator!

The Cook Pine, first classified by botanists during Captain James Cook’s second voyage to circumnavigate the globe are a distinctive narrow tree growing up to 60 metres tall in its native habitat.

Its Latin name is Araucaria columnaris and the bark of the cook pine peels off in thin paper like sheets or strips.
What is odd about the cook pines is that they all have a uniform tilt depending on which hemisphere the trees are found. The trees lean on average of eight degrees south in the northern hemisphere and eight degrees north in the southern hemisphere.

The unusual tilt of the cook pines went largely unnoticed for years by the scientific community until Matt Ritter, a professor at California Polytechnic State University questioned why the cook pines lean in the manner they do.
Matt corresponded with a researcher in Australia to see if they had noticed similar tilting in their cook pines.

Astonishingly, the Australian researcher confirmed that they do indeed tilt, and after more research it was found that the cook pines always seem to point towards the equator, the cook pines bending south in California and north in Australia. Together Matt and his colleagues expanded their research to include five continents and up to 256 different cook pine trees.

Their search for answers took them from near the equator into North America down to the tip of South America and everywhere they went finding the tilted pines. Near the poles they noticed that the cook pines tilted even more as they reached out for the equator, the average cook pine leaning approximately 8.5 degrees.

The reason for the cook pines odd leaning is perhaps something which is common to all plant life, phototropism, house plants will stretch towards the sun and the cook pines are bending to catch the sunlight at higher latitudes.
According to research, most trees have a sensitivity to the earth’s gravitational pull, this is called gravitropism which counteracts the trees will to bend towards sunlight, and this keeps the trees growing in an n upright position. The cook pines do not appear to have this inbuilt ability.