5 Remarkable Trees To Write About This World Environment Day

Vital to the environment, and ready to cure your writer’s block, keep reading to learn some fun facts about mother nature’s trees this World Environment Day!

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From uniquely shaped clouds floating through the sky to funky fish lurking in the sea’s depths, our world is teeming with inspiration. If you’re scratching your head looking for ideas, why not appreciate our planet this World Environment Day by drawing inspiration from mother nature? You might not have considered it, but The Dark Between The Trees, and The Lorax are two great examples of how trees can be applicable to a wide variety of audiences and genres. Whether you’re starting from the ground up or you just need a catchy character name, these five trees definitely leave an impact.

Black Walnut

Prized for its dark sturdy wood and tasty nuts, the black walnut is one of my personal favorites. This tree is native to the Eastern U.S., and while it stands 75 feet on average, it can grow up to 150 feet tall.


There’s easy inspiration to find under the canopy of a black walnut tree. Perhaps your characters could collect the nuts for food or stumble over them as they trudge through the forest. You can also bring the glory of these trees indoors with dark, classy furniture made from its wood. Also, the name Walnut is adorable, and I refuse to hear otherwise.

There’s clearly lots to love about black walnuts, but if you’re seeking something darker, look no further! These trees produce a natural herbicide called juglone to weed out their competition. Giving to the community while sabotaging its rivals? That’s character inspiration if I ever heard it. Or some good symbolism, if you’re into that.

White Ash

Native to Eastern and Central U.S., the white ash is admittedly a little more generic than previous list entries. The tree gets its name from the light undersides of its leaves and is known for the pale wood it produces. It’s historically been a popular street, landscaping, and shade tree.


There’s a reason I included white ash on this list. Unfortunately, a pest known as the emerald ash borer is decimating their populations. To give some insight on the scale of this problem, when I worked ID-ing trees, the easiest way to find an ash tree was to search for the dead or dying. The larva of these beetles burrow into the trees, eating them away from under the bark and killing them in a matter of years. Whether you decide to write about the tragedy befalling the white ash or you use the emerald ash borer as inspiration for your own fictional pests, the impact of the situation is undeniable.

The “Crimson King” Norway Maple

Not only is crimson king a fantastic name, but it’s a specific cultivar of Norway maple. Norway maples are native to Eastern and Central Europe, as well as Western Asia. Despite not being native to the US, the crimson king is commonly planted there as an ornamental tree. Norway maples aren’t picky about soil quality, but their wood isn’t very strong, and they’re prone to disease.


The leaves have a dark, reddish-purple hue through the summer that really stands out. Imagine your character turning over the dark leaves in their hands or walking down a line of them on the street. You can imagine the eerie yet striking effect of an entire forest of them. There’s a lot of strong setting potential in the crown of a crimson king to discover.

Quaking Aspen

A grove of these is equally as remarkable yet distinct from the previous entries. Quaking aspens are quick-growing trees whose leaves commonly turn bright yellow in the fall. This splash of color and the black scars disrupting their smooth, white bark create their mesmerizing appearance. Native all across Canada and the northern and western U.S., this unique aesthetic could provide some fun color inspiration.


But the truly amazing thing about quaking aspen, along with most other aspen varieties, is the fact that they are considered clonal colonies. In a clonal colony, each tree is a genetically identical offshoot from the same impressively long root system. Basically, if you see a grove of these trees, it’s likely that they’re actually a part of the same organism. Depending on how you swing it, you can use aspen to symbolize how we’re all connected, or maybe they’ll inspire you to write about genetic clones and hiveminds. Either way, clonal colonies are fascinating.

Also, consider looking more into the Pando tree in Utah. It’s estimated to be 6,000 tons, and while its age is debated, it’s hypothesized to be thousands of years old. That’s a cool setting if I’ve ever seen one.

Weeping Willow

These don’t really need an introduction, but we have to be consistent. Weeping willows are native to China and were introduced to other countries for their wistful, cascading foliage. They grow considerably well near water and are breathtaking to have the pleasure of walking under. Unfortunately, their beauty is fleeting, as their lifespans average a mere 30 years.


The weeping willow makes a nice set piece, but it could also fit well into a variety of different stories and themes. The bittersweetness of a short-lived love, the feeling of not belonging, or even a sorrow to match its drooping branches. There’s so much more to the weeping willow than its gorgeous demeanor.

If you like environmental content, how about checking out environmental-themed YA reads here?