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Tuesday, March 26 2019 @ 12:51 PM UTC

The Big Tree From The Barro Colorado Island In Panama Fell Down

Environmental IssuesThe Kapok (Ceiba pentandra – also known as the Big Tree) the tree with the largest crown in the world (60 meters in diameter at the crown), fell due to natural causes in the Barro Colorado Island (IBC), near the Panama Canal, according to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).

Through its institutional electronic portal, the STRI recorded the fact and stated: "This was the biggest crown with a single stem known on the planet."

The trunk of the tree is still standing in the center of a huge clearing, where the ground is covered with leaves and vines. The IBC is located in Gatun Lake, which was formed after the river Chagres was dammed, during the construction of the canal in the twentieth century.

STRI staff scientist Joe Wright, who plans to take a core from the main stem to estimate the age of the tree, asked Robert Van Pelt, an adjunct professor at the Institute for Redwood Ecology at Humboldt State University, to comment on BCI’s emblematic tree stature, which held the world record for largest crown.

Pelt said, "This was by far the largest crown known on the planet for a tree with a single stem. There are several banyans in India and elsewhere larger than this, but none with a single stem.”

"The very large base was 13 m in one direction, tapering to a 2 m cylindrical trunk above the buttressing; ending in a wide crown whose highest leaf reached 47 m."

He also said “what was most remarkable about the BCI tree was the crown spread, which based on 8 crown radii, averaged 60m in diameter.”

The Kapok was home to epiphytic orchids and cacti, bromeliads and Spanish moss, as well as sloths, monkeys, bats and birds, and it was the background for more group photos than any other location in the island, which is currently visited by many scientists from all over the world. (TVN)

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