Octopus Tree of Oregon – Tillamook, Oregon - Atlas Obscura
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Tillamook, Oregon

Octopus Tree of Oregon

No one knows how this Pacific Northwest spruce tree came to have so many trunks. 

Located at the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, the oddly-shaped, and even more oddly-named Octopus Tree of Oregon is a massive oddity, the origins of which are uncertain.

The Octopus Tree (also known as the Council Tree, the Monstrosity Tree, and the Candelabra Tree) is believed to be around 250 to 300 years old. The tree itself extends from a central base that is nearly 50 feet around, and instead of shooting straight up with a central trunk, the body of the tree splits into a number of smaller trunks. The bizarre arbor has long been an attraction but the origins of its odd shape are up for debate.  

Some believe that the huge Sitka spruce was simply shaped by natural conditions such as extreme weather. Others have developed the theory that it was the American Indians in the area that trained the tree into its cage-like assortment of thick vertical trunks. It is believed that they created the tree to hold canoes and corpses for ritual purposes.  

However the tree came to be, it is still protected as a popular attraction by a short fence and its importance is explained by an informational sign. There are no octopi at the site, but hopefully this weird tree is interesting enough that that won’t be much of a disappointment.