There are many beautiful trees available for landscaping, but there are four trees that stand out as being the four top trees for landscaping. These trees each have a unique feature that makes them excellent choices as architectural trees or feature trees in any landscaping arrangement. These trees are Glauca Grass Trees (xanthorrhoea glauca), Queensland Bottle Trees (brachychiton rupestris), Dragon Trees (dracaena draco), and Olive trees (olea Europaea).
Why These Trees Stand Out
- Their unique shape. Each of these trees has a unique shape or profile. The glauca grass trees can sometimes resemble a human being with a wild, big hair, look. Depending on how they are trimmed, the grass trees can resemble a woman with a long, ragged skirt and bouffant updo, or a wild warrior wielding a spear. The Queensland bottle tree has a classic shape that resembles a glass or clay wine bottle. It grows to an exceptional height, and some varieties have gorgeous blossoms that attract all sorts of pollinators. Dragon trees develop long, snaky trunks that support rosettes of fleshy leaves, making them look like some prehistoric beast raising its head above the forest. Carefully trimmed, a dragon tree can resemble an umbrella. Olive trees, native as they are to the windswept hills around the Mediterranean Sea, grow gnarled trunks that support widespread canopies of silvery leaves.
- Exceptional usefulness. Every one of these trees has a use apart from its natural beauty. Grass trees exude a yellowish sap that helps glued the drooping fronds back to the trunk. This sap has had numerous natural craft applications as well as modern industrial uses. The Queensland bottle tree, like the boab trees that are also sometimes called bottle trees, stores moisture that human and animal alike can sometimes access in times of drought. Its blossoms and seed pods are a natural cornucopia for birds, animals, and insects. Dragon trees received their name not only because of their interesting knots of leaves, but also for their red sap which is sometimes marketed as dragon’s blood. The sap has been used as a varnishing dye for musical instruments as well as for incense. As for the fourth tree on the list, what could possibly be more useful than an olive tree? It provides shade, olives which (when properly prepared) can be pickled for food or squeezed for an exceptional food-grade oil.
- Useful Subjects of history and legend.
- Grass trees were once known as “black boy” because after a fire, the blackened stumps were thought to look like a dark-skinned child. The term has fallen out of use as being racist, and possibly more than a little offensive. But after a grass fire, grass trees quickly put up a bloom stalk, becoming one of the first plants to offer food and drink to animals and humans alike. Then, with the tall shaft of the bloom stalk held aloft, the grass tree looked more like a protective or vengeful warrior.
- Queensland Bottle Trees have a graceful appearance, and are often cultivated in fence rows and in pastures because they can be felled for emergency food for cattle. They should not be confused with the Boab trees, which are also called bottle trees, and at one time grew so large that they were used to sequester prisoners. Even so, Queensland bottle trees were once used as a place to store things and for emergency water supplies.
- Dragon Trees are Native to Tenerife where they are the national tree. There are innumerable stories about dragon’s teeth and dragon’s tears, and they are thought to be associated with the story about the golden apples.
- Olive Trees are the subject of so many stories they would be difficult to recount here. An olive branch is often a sign of peace, and was the twig that the dove brought to Noah to show that the waters were receding and there was land for the Ark.
All four of these trees are survivors. They grow in places where other kinds of trees find it difficult to survive, either because of lack of water, excessive salt, or extreme temperatures. They are excellent feature trees because they do not require a great deal of water, pruning, or other sorts of attention. They can even be transplanted as adult trees, making them an excellent choice for urban planning.