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Wonders of Peru: Walking Palm, A Tree That Can Literally Walk

If you watched Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy then you surely remember huge tree-like creatures called Ents. But are they more real than Gandalf? While they don't look and act exactly like it was shown in the movie, they can walk; or so its said. The speed of their movement is tremendously slow because these trees move due to new roots growing toward sunlight and replacing the old roots. Imagine how much time it takes them to walk one meter.

The amazing story of the walking palm tree has been told by rainforest guides to tourists for years, and appears in many sources both in print and on the web. It is said that the tree “walks” from shade to sunlight by growing roots in the direction it wants to travel, and then allowing the old roots to slowly lift into the air and die. This allows the tree to slowly move towards the side where the new roots are growing. The process is said to take a couple of years, while one palaeobiologist suggesting the tree moves two or three centimeters per day.

These trees are known as walking palms or Cashapona and grow in the Amazon Jungle where the home of the Aji Charapita Pepper is. (

If you spot them in the forest, please don't wait until you see them move.

Unfortunately there are mixed opinions and studies about this. Biologist Gerardo Avalos, director of the Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Atenas, Costa Rica, one of the world's top experts on the Socratea exorrhiza, published a study where he observed that the walking tree can't walk because its roots don't move. So his conclusion is, a few roots on one side or another may die off, but the trunk itself remains rooted to the spot.

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