Have you ever heard of crown shyness? It’s a pretty cool thing that happens to some types of trees where they seem to purposely keep their crowns from touching each other. This creates an interesting and distinct gap between the tree tops, making for a visually stunning pattern in the forest canopy.
When you look up at tall trees like eucalyptus, Sitka spruce, and Japanese larch, you might notice that the highest branches don’t touch. This phenomenon is called “crown shyness,” and it creates a distinctive pattern in the forest canopy that outlines each tree’s shape beautifully.
Scientists have observed crown shyness among both similar and different species of trees in various locations worldwide since the 1920s. The gaps created by crown shyness have a similar appearance across all species and habitats, resembling meandering channels, zig-zagging fractures, and winding rivers.
Despite years of study, the cause of crown shyness remains unknown. However, some experts have put forth several theories, including collisions between branches in high-wind areas, optimal light conditions for photosynthesis by perennial plants, and prevention of invading insects from spreading.
Regardless of its cause, crown shyness is a fascinating natural occurrence that adds to the beauty of our forests.