From The Wizard Of Oz to The Guardians of the Galaxy, trees have been the centre of some of our favourite films and TV programmes. Here is a selection of them.
The Apple Tree in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Sticking up for his abused tree ancestors (Garden of Eden?), the talking apple tree from The Wizard of Oz rips an apple from Dorothy’s hand after she plucks one off his branch. “Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?” he says in a grumbly bartender baritone. Though feisty, the tree may not have the sharpest branches in the bunch. After the Scarecrow implies that his apples contain green worms, the tree becomes upset and starts throwing his fruit at the Scarecrow and Dorothy. How about them apples!
The Treehouse in Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
The Xanadu of elevated tree sanctuaries, the Robinsons’ leafy pad is just one more reason to be jealous of a beautiful family that is stranded on a beautiful island. “We can’t sit on the beach just waiting for a ship to come by!” says the Mr Robinson. The family bands together and uses its rudimentary construction knowledge to build the most awesome tree house of all time.
The Honey Tree in Winnie the Pooh (1977, 1997, 2011)
It was just Pooh’s luck that the only tree containing honey in his vicinity was all treacherously tall and guarded by bees. We’re not sure why he thought it’d be a good idea to get really muddy and pose as a singing black rain cloud to grab a snip of honey, but he did!
The Tree of Life from Lion King (1994)
The tree of life served a multitude of purposes, but most notably was the home of Rafiki.
Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas (1995)
Perhaps Pocahontas’s third most charming sidekick (after that fat raccoon and hummingbird), Grandmother Willow serves as a prophet, gabby girlfriend, therapist and amateur singer for our outdoorsy heroine.. She does, however, have a bit of a temper. When her woodland-creature roommates become noisy during a therapy session with Pocahontas, she screams at them to be quiet. “There’s still some snap in these old vines!” she later declares. You said it best, Grandma Willow.
The Tree of the Dead in *Sleepy Hollow* (1999)
Perhaps the least attractive of trees on this list, the Tree of the Dead does not have the best personality either. It’s a portal from the natural world to that of the supernatural. Filled with blood and bodies and pretty unfriendly, this tree has branches, all akimbo and effortful, that greet visitors like open arms passive-aggressively hugging a colleague at a party you didn’t realise he was invited to.
Toad Tree – Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
This is not the kind of tree you gather your friends beneath to have tea parties. No, the tree in Pan’s Labyrinth is a twisted oak that’s home to all manner of disgusting bugs and insects, not to mention an over-amorous toad with a key to immortality in its belly. Rule of thumb: if you find any tree in the woods that you can climb inside or scurry beneath, or that contains a portal to a world of mystery, give it a miss. Other trees are available to play in.
The Whomping Willow in *Harry Potter* (2001 to 2011)
The combative, mysterious Whomping Willow is the breakout star of the Harry Potter series. Like Sirius Black, the Willow’s status as enemy or friend has shifted from book to book. Both the Weasley family’s flying car and Harry’s broomstick crash into it, but, like many trees on this list, it’s also the site of an occasionally useful secret passage.
Tree Beard in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
In the second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Ents – a typically peaceful and wise band of tree people – join together with the Hobbits to get revenge on Saruman, whose armies cut down their beloved forests.
The Swing Tree in Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
A rare instance of villainous flora! Technically speaking, the tree in this children’s classic doesn’t have ruinous intentions, per se—it’s the rope swing that’s attached to the tree that breaks, sending one of the book’s two young adventurers, Leslie, into the moat (creek) around Terabithia.
The Tree of Souls in Avatar (2009)
The sacred Tree of Souls! (In Na’vi: Vitraya Ramunong). The tree is an enormous, spiritually significant organism literally worshipped by the residents of Pandora. Greedy, environmentally irresponsible human miners attempt to destroy the tree when it, and its Na’vi acolytes, get in the way of the search for the very expensive, very literally named mineral, unobtainium.
The Weirwood Tree in Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)
A weirwood tree in the godswood of Winterfell. Weirwood is a species of deciduous tree found all over Westeros; it has white bark with five-pointed, blood-red leaves and sap.
Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014 & 2017)
Actually, Groot isn’t a tree at all – he’s a sentient, tree-like creature from outer space who is the monarch of Planet X. Capable of saying just three words – “I am Groot” – he’s not the most chatty of trees.