The "timidity" of the trees, a mysterious and misunderstood phenomenon, offers us the most sublime landscapes!

Trees are absolutely fascinating beings. They communicate with each other, warn each other of diseases or invasions of insects, share nutrients with the sickest through thousands of interconnections between their roots ... They form in the forest an intense network where all individuals Are connected to one another at the entrance, in the manner of the thousands of neurons of a gigantic vegetal brain. We are just beginning to understand some of their mechanisms ... But do you know that they are also very shy?
The "timidity" of trees is the tendency by which certain species avoid touching and maintain a certain distance between them, especially between the branches, but also under the ground at the level of their roots. Still poorly understood today and little studied, this phenomenon concerns only certain species. The term itself comes from the expression "crown shyness", popularized in the 1960s by Australian researchers who began to look into the issue. 
Concretely, the trees leave a regular space between them, called "shyness slot", which can give a result as pretty as impressive! The rationale for this avoidance strategy is not yet clear, but some scientists put forward several theories to explain it.
For some, by maintaining a certain margin of isolation between them, the trees decrease their chances of being contaminated in the event of an epidemic. Others see it as a way to limit the spread of invading insects. Still others suppose that these spaces left between the trees allow the sunlight to pierce the canopy and penetrate the vegetation.
It was also possible that the growth of the trees was inhibited by the contact of the young buds when the wind caused them to rub against each other, or that the trees were sensitive to the gas exchange between the leaves of the branches of neighboring trees.
In France, two large species have this strange behavior, the green oak and the umbrella pine. But even in other species of trees that do not have a "shyness slit", it almost never happens that the branches completely interpenetrate. The trees are able to feel the presence of their congeners and prefer to push away from each other, maximizing the surface offered to the sun's rays!
Here are some pictures that show the beauty of the "timidity" of trees:
Via Tom Cowey
Via zackzayne
Via johdahn
Via jeelsays

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