This may be a strange question, but does anyone know what kind of tree this could be?

XKCD tree

I know, it's just a comic, but these trees, at “walking distance” within that comic are easily identifiable as Grandidier's Baobabs:

Gradidier's Baobab

(That might indicate, of course, that the above tree also occurs on Madagascar, but it's a comic, so all bets are off. And yes, we know, there are no squirrels on Madagascar.)

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    $\begingroup$ Is there any reason to believe that it is a real species at all? $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ @kmm it does look vaguely familiar, I'm pretty sure I've seen images of such trees. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this question can be answered, and it doesn't deal with real-world biology. The intent of the artist cannot be known and a silhouette can hardly be used for species determination. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2013 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ I know, it's a cartoon tree, and might not be a real one, but the second one is clearly identifiable, which is why I believe the first one could be as well. $\endgroup$
    – mscha
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed that in japanese animation, the fish are often identifiable, at least at the genus or family level. So the question makes sense to me. $\endgroup$
    – bli
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 7:19

4 Answers 4


It reminds me of the smooth-barked Australian gum trees / eucalyptus, like a salmon gum, ghost gum, etc.

Although there are no squirrels in Australia :)

This photo of a Salmon Gum is from http://www.fpc.wa.gov.au/content_migration/plantations/species/arid/salmon_gum.aspx

Salmon Gum

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    $\begingroup$ Of course, that's not a squirrel. It's clearly a brushtail possum. :) $\endgroup$
    – bshane
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 4:46

As @fileunderwater suggested, this looks like an Acacia. Like many others with OSX, I have this incuded picture of an acacia as one of my screensaver rotations.

It looks very similar in bauplan to the illustration.

enter image description here


As Saxon Druce has pointed out it looks very much like a eucalypt. Specifically a desert or savanna species such as the ghost gum (Corymbia aparrerinja).

wikimedia commons ghost gum

Other eucalypts (Eucalyptus and Corymbia spp.) have similar growth forms. masterfile stock photo eucalypt
(source: masterfile.com)

The silhouette is obviously stylised and appears to have less foliage than a real eucalypt in order to make the profile neater. The branching pattern and the way the foliage is clustered in rounded clumps and textured in the image are representative of eucalypts. I would argue it is not an Acacia - they have very distinctive branching patterns and are more spreading with a flatter top than this.


It looks like a pine to me. Might be close to Pinus pinaster but take into account that a) I'm not a botanist. b) I'm only familiar with pines that grow in my area (Catalonia).

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    $\begingroup$ My guess (with an emphasis on guess) would rather be an Acacia species, since they are common on savanna/similar environments as Baobabs. They are fan/umbrella shaped (do a google image search). There are, however, more than 1300 species of Acacia worldwide. $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2013 at 13:55

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