One of the most curious plants at Dzamling Gar, the “dinosaur tree”, has its trunk and branches covered in very large thorns that make you think twice before hugging it! It is thought that the thorns may have been a defense from now extinct megafauna, in particular giant ground sloths or megatherium endemic to South America, which disappeared around 12,000 years ago.
The Сeiba speciosa or silk floss tree is also known as “palo borracho” or “drunken stick” in Spanish since the trees look disheveled and distorted as they age. When they are young, the trunk is green because of its high chlorophyll content, which means it can perform photosynthesis when leaves are absent. Its impressive flowers have five creamy or pink petals with nectar that attracts insect pollinators as well as hummingbirds.
At the Gar we have seven of these magnificent examples that seem to be left over from a seemingly prehistoric era.