I spent years trying to find out which tree, out of all the many trees in the world, is the very best tree. This entailed looking at all the characteristics that make a tree the best, such as its beauty, the number of leaves it has, the amount of shade it gives, its flexibility in the wind, and so on.
In many ways I was inspired by other popular contests and investigations into other high-quality categories of things, from human beauty pageants to the Oscars. If we can determine the best candidate in those categories, why not trees?
Once I started looking at trees’ relative bestness, I also become interested in other tree qualities, such as tree dopplegangers. This project, as part of the Best Tree in the World, is an outgrowth of that overall investigation of trees’ testable characteristics.
I counted the leaves on several trees in Philadelphia. Several trees’ data was lost in a bar or movie theater midway through the count.
The results were then placed in “record album” format, with each specific tree’s image placed on the outside, and the number of leaves it had on the inside.
Action shot of me in the process of counting leaves:
The counted leaves: