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Wilson Tree Surgery

by Wilson Tree Surgery |

Trees are an endless inspiration for various types of artists and filmmakers, and that’s why there have been many films that feature trees as “main characters.”

We have selected our favourite famous trees that feature in some of the best known films. Some real and existing in the U.K and some fictional. 

Read on to hear our top 5 famous “Arboreal actors.”


1. The Whomping Willow 

Film: Harry Potter

The magical Whomping Willow rose to fame in the Harry Potter films and is one of the most iconic trees in the world.

The Whomping Willow was located on Berkhamsted Common on the Ashridge Estate nearby, but sadly tragedy struck the tree in 2014, when a storm hit –  it had stood for 400 years!

Fact: to counter common understanding the tree was not a willow at all, but a Queen Beech!


2. Treebeard 

Film: The Lord of the Rings

The fictional character of Treebeard is an ent, an ancient tree-like creature that protects the forests in Middle Earth from evil forces.

Treebeard is depicted to be an old, wise and knowledgeable creature who likes to take his time. The ents can walk, talk and move their limbs as if they were arms and legs, and are described to be very strong. 

It’s thought that Treebeard was based on an oak or beech tree, which are very long-lived, resilient trees.


3. Tree of Life 

Film: The Lion King

Another well recognised fictional tree – The Tree of Life, plays a central role in The Lion King. 

It’s the home of Rafiki, the film’s baboon shaman, and is the site of his central discovery that the hero Simba is still alive after leaving the Pridelands.

Today, the Disney theme park Animal Kingdom is home to its own “Tree of Life,” a 145-foot sculpture of a baobab tree which was constructed with more than 8,000 different branches and 102,000 artificial leaves.


4.  “Shawshank Tree”

Film: the Shawshank Redemption

The large oak tree located near the entrance to Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County, Ohio, was a landmark due to its iconic role in the 1994 film Shawshank Redemption, starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.

The “Shawshank tree” was at least 30 m tall and approximately 180 to 200 years old.

It played a central role in the film’s plot and was one of the most popular tourist sites connected to it. The tree was split by lightning on July 29, 2011, and was sadly knocked down by strong winds in 2016.



5. Groot

Film: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy features a character named Groot: a talking tree, voiced by Vin Diesel, capable only of saying his own name albeit in a multitude of different ways.

This Guardians of the Galaxy superhero was actually inspired by the Philippine Balete tree. Former Marvel Studios senior visual development artist Anthony Francisco revealed this little tidbit in an episode of the Mexipino Podcast, where he shared how the Philippine plant species influenced the design of Baby Groot

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