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No. 106: Jul-Aug 1996

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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987