Top Pop Culture Trees

My Fictional Foliage Favorites

This upcoming Giving Tuesday, you can help wildlife in a unique way: for every $10 you donate to the National Wildlife Federation, we’ll plant a native tree to benefit wildlife. Trees provide us and wildlife with some pretty amazing benefits, and pop culture has taken note of this and created some memorable tree characters that bring these benefits to life. In honor of our upcoming celebration of trees, I’ve rated a few of my favorite trees from books and movies:

The Whomping Willow

Warner Bros.
Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

This giant, magical willow tree resides in the magical world of Harry Potter. Despite being a danger to anyone who approaches it, the whomping willow provides a safe escape for a transforming werewolf, and protects others from accidentally running into him.

Rating: I give it an 8/10 for its protective instincts (losing 2 points for mangling the Ford Anglia).


Marvel Studios
Image courtesy of Marvel Studios

Groot is a living, walking, talking tree who is member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, of both comic book and movie fame. Despite being a one-liner (“I am Groot.”), Groot provides strength, support, and protection for his teammates.

Rating: I give him a 10/10 for regrowth capabilities.

The Ents

New Line Cinema
Image courtesy of New Line Cinema

While not officially trees, the Ents from Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings are a group of tree-like beings that prove to be great allies of the people of Middle-earth. Closely resembling the trees they protect, their strength and fortitude keeps the forests (and their hobbit friends) safe from threats of Sauron.

Rating: They get a 7/10 for their quiet and resilient strength.

Tree of Souls

20th Century Fox
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

While many trees take on an important role in the film Avatar, the Tree of Souls is our favorite since it is the closest connection between the Na’vi, their deity Eywa, and their deceased. Through a neural connection, the Na’vi are able to connect with their deceased ancestors for guidance.

Rating: I give it a 14/10 for impressive beyond-tree-like abilities.

The Truffula Trees

Dr. Seuss
Image from “The Lorax”

Immortalized in The Lorax by Dr. Suess, the story of the truffula trees symbolizes humans’ desire to use the natural world for our benefit, without considering the reverberating repercussions. After exhausting the forest of truffula trees, the Once-ler comes to realize that unless someone cares a great deal, the situation will never improve.

Rating: 11/10 for tugging at our heartstrings (and inspiring some of us to work in conservation).

The Apple Tree Orchard

MGM Studios
Image courtesy of MGM Studios

Not all trees are nice. In The Wizard of Oz, the apple tree orchard comes to life after Dorothy attempts to pluck an apple. The trees gang up on her, Scarecrow, and the Tin Man, teaching them that not everything is as it seems in the land of Oz, but also to ask for things instead of taking them.

Rating: 7/10 for scaring children into politeness.

The Giving Tree

Shel Silverstein
Image from  “The Giving Tree”

The Giving Tree tops my list of treasured childhood books. It taught us about giving, kindness, and growing older. The tree loved to give, and the boy loved to take. It reminds us of how much we’ve taken from trees, and how much we should give back.

Rating: The Giving Tree goes beyond the ranking scale, and deserves 20/10 for selflessness and an impactful message.

These fictional trees have given us so much – give back to the real trees we’ve taken so much from by donating to our Giving Tuesday campaign. One tree will be planted for every $10 you donate.

Give Trees Now
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Published: November 15, 2016