Cyborg Trees

Scientists have discovered "Cyborg" like trees that grow on an island in the South Pacific that have nickel metal in their sap.


The tree is called Pycnandra acuminata and is part of a plant group called "hyperaccumulators."

It is found on the island of New Calendoia and it has evolved to draw certain metals from its surrounding earth in to its organic structure.
Pycnandra acuminata is a large (up to 20m tall) rare rainforest tree, restricted to remaining patches of rainforest in New Caledonia

Dr van der Ent, University of Queensland

Furthermore, this toxic metal is then used to deter insect attack - Nature's cyborg?

The nickel content turns the trees latex in to a blue-green colour.


Sustainable application

Dr van der Ent adds,
The evolution of hyperaccumulation has evolved many times over in very different families, and likely has taken millions of years. These plants are found on naturally metal-enriched soils

It is positive that this unusual behaviour is not thought to due to human pollution. However, the tree's unique characteristics could be used to clean up toxic soils in the future if planted in areas that have been polluted.

Nature is truly amazing.

Originally published by University of Queensland