10 of the strangest trees in the redwoods

These will have you doing a double take

Two people stand beside a redwood shaped like a candelabra
Old-growth coast redwoods have been shaped into grand candelabras by fire, salty air and coastal winds at Shady Dell, a property owned by Save the Redwoods League in Mendocino County. The stressors caused these trees to sprout branches near the ground. Then when conditions improved, the branches grew straight up. League staff photo

A redwood forest typically includes tree after towering, straight tree, an expanse of magnificent columnar trunks reaching skyward. But there are odd redwoods out there. Here are some brow-raising examples.

A burl on the side of a redwood looks like the profile of a human face
Ever met a tree with a face? Burls can form in odd shapes. These rounded outgrowths on a tree base or trunk contain dormant buds. Photo by Ginny Dexter
A redwood with rounded and elongated outgrowths on the trunk
Burls on the trunk like these grow in response to a wound; they generally begin just above the injury and grow down to cover it. This redwood is in Hendy Woods State Park. Photo by Mike Shoys
A huge redwood with a tunnel in its base, surrounded by a lush forest.
This walk-through tree is on the Rhododendron Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Redwoods often have cavities or tunnels in their trunks that form when hot fires get through to the interior heartwood. Subsequent fires and pathogenic agents cause the core of the tree to decay and a hollow to form. The trees can survive these injuries and continue to grow. These basal hollows are also sometimes called goose pens. Photo by Max Forster, @maxforsterphotography
A child stands in a tall dark cavity in a giant sequoia
Basal hollows, also known as goose pens, can reach epic proportions, like this one in a giant sequoia, or Sierra redwood. Photo by Gabriel Tovar, Unsplash
Four redwood trunks wrap around each other
The Corkscrew Tree in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a ring of four redwoods that wind around each other, forming a single, sinuous trunk. League staff photo
A bushy albino redwood with white leaves stands in a lush forest. A green fern stands in the foreground.
Lacking chlorophyll, albino redwoods like this one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park must depend on a sibling or parent tree for sustenance. Their white needles seem to glow against the backdrop of the dark forests in which they live. Photo by Max Forster, @maxforsterphotography
A redwood with wavy bark
Some redwoods, like this one in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, have wavy bark, which may be due to a genetic variation. Photo by Paolo Vescia
A boardwalk on the left side leads through a scrubby forest of short trees.
Redwoods that could be hundreds of years old are only 10 feet tall in this pygmy forest in Van Damme State Park. Along with redwoods, pines and cypresses are a mere fraction of the height they would be in a normal forest. The stunted trees are the result of poor soil and limited drainage and root movement. Photo by mlhradio, Flickr Creative Commons
Five people stand under and in front of a tree growing in mid-air in a lush redwood forest
This aerial hemlock tree on the Berry Glen Trail in Redwood National and State Parks likely started to grow on log that had fallen over the trail and has since decomposed. League staff photo

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Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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