There's nothing like occasionally getting away from the noise and stress of the city, putting aside our mobile phones and escaping for a nature walk. Getting in touch with nature has multiple benefits to our physical and mental health. Did you know that our bodies constantly change according to the environment around us to protect itself?

Thus, when walking and enjoying certain landscapes the secretion of stress hormones is halved. It is scientifically proven that even just seeing trees through a hospital window, speeds up the recovery processes of the sick.

But nature is not only a source of peace and tranquility, we can also find in it magical phenomena that show us how wonderful our planet is. In particular, there is something that only the most curious and observant would ever notice called the ‘crown shyness phenomenon’. Yes, you read correctly: trees can be shy.

This form of behavior is known as "crown of shyness" or "botanical shyness". Despite how spectacular this is, there are hardly enough scientific explanations that support this phenomenon. Crown shyness is a fascinating case in which the highest branches of a tree canopy mysteriously avoid touching each other. What we do know is that it is an allelopathic phenomenon, related to when an organism produces a biochemical compound that interacts with and influences other organisms around it. Although it has been mentioned in literature since the 1920's, it was Australian, Maxwell Ralph Jacobs, who first studied it in biological terms. He came to the conclusion that the buds were sensitive to the friction of the branches swaying in the wind, which caused those spaces between them.

There is also a theory related to the photoreceptors of trees that directs the growth of their branches towards two different senses: the search of light and avoiding shadow. In this case, the trees are aware of the presence of others and will try to respect their space.

- María Álvarez Pérez

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