The Dragon Tree at Icod de los Vinos in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, is quite an unusual specimen. It has been said to be between 650 and 1,500 years old, though experts can’t say for sure since it doesn’t have a single trunk, but rather many small trunks that cling together as they grow upward.
Axel Erlandson underneath one of his arborsculpture (Image credit: Wilma Erlandson, Cabinet Magazine) Erlandson was very secretive and refused to reveal his methods on how to grow the Circus Trees (he even carried out his graftings behind screens to protect against spies!) and carried the secrets to his grave.
Two legged Circus Tree. Alex Erlandson was very secretive and refused to reveal his methods on how to grow the Circus Trees (he even carried out his graftings behind screens to protect against spies!) and carried the secrets to his grave. The trees were later bought by millionaire Michael Bonfante, who transplanted them to his amusement park Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy in 1985.
Axel Erlandson (December 15, 1884 – April 28, 1964) was a Swedish American farmer who shaped trees as a hobby, and opened a horticultural attraction in 1947 advertised as "See the World's Strangest Trees Here," and named "The Tree Circus." The trees appeared in the column of Robert Ripley's Believe It or Not! twelve times. Erlandson sold his attraction shortly before his death. The trees were moved to Gilroy Gardens in 1985.
A farmer in California, Erlandson had noticed the curious ability of trees to naturally graft themselves together. So, in 1925 Erlandson began planning a series of trees that were deliberately grafted together for artistic effect. His first creation was the "Four Legged Giant," four trees which he merged into a single truck, creating a kind of tree-gazebo.