What is a tree made of?

Trees are massive, with some of the behemoths weighing hundreds of tonnes.

So where does all that mass come from? Is it mostly water? Or is it from the soil? We all studied that plants make their food from sunlight, so is all that mass mostly sunlight converted into wood?

Derek (from the excellent Youtube channel Veritasium) had several people wondering about this question in the video below. The answer is rather counter-intuitive – the mass of a tree is mostly carbon, from the carbon-di-oxide in the air around us.

Yes. All of those multi-storey hunks of wood are made of air! How fascinating is that? The folks at Ecosia have recognized this and are replanting rainforests to use their trees to capture the carbon-di-oxide in the air.

Wonder lurks in every corner of the world – even in the mass of that unassuming tree that we pass by everyday. All we need to do is to merely pause.

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