Horse Chestnuts may look like trees, but they are actually tree ferns (order Cyatheales), which do not grow rings as they increase in size and lack woody tissue. Instead, the trunk is a modified rhizome (such as ginger or turmeric), which sends down root bunches that thus pile atop one another and constitute the height and mass of the tree fern’s “trunk”. These root bunches are known as hegodai, and are often found adorned with epiphytes (plants that grow on another but are not necessarily parasitic).
When dinosaurs still walked the earth, broad-leafed trees had not yet evolved. Instead, pined gymnosperms and tree ferns made up the majority of forests. Here, with these pines and horse chestnuts and a little imagination, you can almost feel the rumble of dinosaurs’ footsteps and hear their munch munch munch of the horse chestnut fronds.