Trees Embody Symbolism and Meaning for Humans

Trees and humans are intimately connected in a perpetual, symbiotic circle of life.

A vital part of nature and the earth’s ecosystem, trees have coexisted with humans since the beginning of time. They provide essential oxygen into our atmosphere and as we breathe out carbon dioxide, the trees are fortified.

Trees have come to represent a wide range of meanings for people across many different cultures. They provide beauty, color, scents, shade, windbreaks, soil stability and containment, medicine, wood, and food and an ecosystem to support birds, animal, and many other varieties of life. Trees also sustain life on earth though a fascinating process called photosynthesis where light energy from the sun is used to put carbon dioxide from the air with water to give off the oxygen we breathe.

The symbolism and meaning associated with trees across many cultures are plentiful. In some cultures, trees are mystical and majestic and are considered ancient living beings with energy and wisdom believed to flow through them. Trees are important symbols in many religions, including the Tree of Life in the Bible. Today, trees are one of the most common symbols used in the logo for companies and brands.

Taking it a step further, certain types of trees have their own cultural meaning and significance, stories, and connections to humans. Here are some fascinating examples:

Oak Trees

Oak is the "king of trees and symbolizes wisdom, strength and longevity. Oaks can live hundreds of years and grow into large stately sights. It is the national tree of many nations including the U.S., Germany and England and has stood the test of time. Oaks strongly symbolize power and courage.

Birch Trees

Birch trees represent new beginnings. They are sophisticated and graceful yet strong, with a willfulness to grow where nothing else can. Birth trees are among the first species to regrow in places of tragedy, such as a forest fire or sub-zero temperatures, thriving in harsh conditions of low nutrient soils and frigid climates.

Elm Trees

The Elm Tree is popular in mythology around the world, symbolizing victory and achievement of goals. This sacred tree is associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth and frequently, old-growth elms are found on many college campuses throughout the world. These stately trees represent intuition and inner strength.

Redwood Trees

It is considered to be a symbolism of wellness, safety, longevity, wisdom, and communication. “To walk in a redwood forest is to enter nature's cathedral.” Above all, this tree symbolizes vitality and longevity, as it can grow to 1,000 years old and comes from a lineage of trees which grow into old ages. It’s no surprise that Redwood Trees symbolize forever.

Maple Trees

The Majestic Maple symbolizes strength, intelligence, beauty, and adaptability. With its intelligence, the maple can adapt its root system to a variety of soil types and climates. It has one of the widest geographic reaches of any tree in the U.S., and it displays a striking and beautiful array of colors throughout the year.  Maples trees can produce maple syrup, which was an important part of the diet of native Americans and remains a tasty part of modern day meals.

Cedar Trees

Strength, healing, and cleansing are just a few of the Cedar Tree’s most beloved qualities.  The tree serves as an important cultural symbol because of its size and longevity. Poets and artists have conveyed the tree as a sign of strength and eternity, especially given the tree's endurance through tumultuous periods of history. 

Japanese Maple Trees

When fall comes around, the hills and mountains of Japan turn a bright red, yellow, and orange from the maple trees putting on their yearly show of colors. Throughout the world the Japanese maple tree is viewed as a symbol elegance, beauty, and grace

Fir Trees

Fir trees and other evergreens were ancient symbols of eternal light associated with the Winter Solstice and the return of the Sun. Evergreen wreaths decorated doorways during the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which led up to the Winter Solstice in honor of Saturn the Roman god of Agriculture.

In spite of how we think of Fir Trees being a part of Christmas, it is actually a symbol of springtime.

Wisteria Trees

What a beautiful idea encompassed in the thought that the abundance of the Wisteria flowering vine also signifies our own expanding consciousness. In Japanese Kabuki theater, the symbolism for the Wisteria is love, sensuality, support, sensitivity, bliss, and tenderness.

Palm Trees

The palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. Since a victory signals an end to a conflict or competition, the palm developed into a symbol of peace, a meaning it can have in Islam, where it is often associated with Paradise.

Cherry Tree

Love, romance, and good fortune are the Cherry Tree’s most noted symbols. Steeped in magic, mystery, and mythology, this beautiful tree is feast for the senses. In Japan, the Cherry or ‘Sakura’ Tree represents new beginnings, reminding us to appreciate its once a year and short-lived presence.


Bamboos are a group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family Poaceae. Some of its members are giants, forming by far the largest members of the grass family. There are 91 genera and about 1,000 species of bamboo. They are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. Although bamboo is a grass, many of the larger bamboos are very tree-like in appearance and they are sometimes called "bamboo trees".

Island Slumber’s mission is to help save forest (all trees) and the wildlife that depends on them. We create products from bamboo -- one of the renewable resources on Earth. Creating sustainable, minimal-waste products is our focus, from packaging to products. Shop with us and enjoy the beautiful, healthy sleep that Island Slumber bamboo bedding gives you.

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