Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Knowing its own weaknesses

The part where the branch connects with the trunk is most prone to wounds, because it has to support the weight of the branch itself, which adds additional stress. This zone is ready for anything, as it contains all kinds of adventitious buds (Bud developing on any part of a plant.). They will be stimulated if the branch breaks and provided there is enough sunlight, growing into new branches to replace the one that was lost.

Why do these adventitious buds need sunlight in order to grow? It's a simple insurance policy guaranteeing efficient design. It makes no sense for a tree that sheds an overly shaded branch to grow a new one, because it would also be shaded and just as inefficient as the old branch.


Photo of the contact area between a branch and the trunk of an American chestnut (Castanea dentata)
Castanea dentata
© Jardin botanique de Montréal (Alain Cogliastro)
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