Why Is the Elephant Tree Like a Skunk?

The elephant tree of Mexico borrows a page from the defensive system of the skunk. Just as the skunk discharges a scented spray when danger threatens, the elephant tree sends out a spray of foul-smelling oil when it’s attacked by an animal.

The elephant tree got its name because its trunk and branches look like the thick legs of an elephant. When an animal visits the tree and begins to nibble on one of its leaves, the elephant tree shoots a spray through an opening in its trunk.

The spray of plant oil, which can reach up to three feet from the tree, is foul-smelling enough to send any animal running!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Why Is the Elephant Tree Like a Skunk?”

  1. The odor discharged from the elephant tree comes from the leaves, not the trunk. Although this odor is unpleasant to browsing animals, it is very pleasant to humans. Elephant trees are new world relatives of the old world Frankinsense plant.

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