The Strange, Antisocial Phenomenon of Crown Shyness

The Strange, Antisocial Phenomenon of Crown Shyness

Tuesday August 22, 2017 Written by Genevieve

Crown shyness

In the wise words of Morrissey, “Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to”.

The Smiths frontman was probably just singling about his miserable old self, but it turns out Morrissey’s koan applies to trees nearly as well as it does affected misanthropes. As these photos demonstrate, there exist certain species of trees that avoid touching other trees’ branches. When viewed from below, this antisocial behaviour can create some pretty incredible visuals, with lines of sky separating each tree with near-perfect spacing. The proper term coined for this phenomenon is ‘crown shyness’.

There are lots of very sound, practical theories as to why crown shyness occurs – to stop the spread of threatening insects, for example, or to ensure enough sunlight gets to the forest floor. But there’s also the possibility that these trees just need to see a therapist, and stop listening to the Smiths.

Crown shyness

Photos, from top: Dag Peak; Patrice78500 (via Wikimedia Commons).