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No. 106: Jul-Aug 1996

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A BOON TO THE LUMBER INDUSTRY?

R. Oldfield and her husband were visiting Panama, when they heard about un-usual trees growing at the Summit Botanical Garden and Zoo just outside Panama City. They decided to take a look and were soon walking along a slip pery, narrow trail. "After a short walk the trail ended abruptly. There was a sign that pointed to a group of trees. It said 'arbol' (square tree). From a distance, they didn't look square. I was disappointed. My husband made a closer inspection. He put a field guide against the trunk of one tree. It was totally square.

"Later I found that the square trees were a member of the banyan family and grow only in this area of El Valle. Why they are square is still a mystery."

(Oldfield, Rochelle; "Panama's Gold Frogs and Square Trees," International Travel News, 21:20, June 1996)

Comment. There's a lot of waste at the sawmill when round trees are cut up for lumber. We should ask the gene fiddlers to produce square pines and oaks. Maybe they can even coax 2 x 4s to grow!

From Science Frontiers #106, JUL-AUG 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss