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Black Olive Trees

Black Olive Tree History

The Black Olive Tree (Bucida buceras) is a tropical tree native to Central America and most of the Caribbean, though some experts believe its origins may have reached north to the Florida Keys.



Before gaining commercial popularity for ornamental use, it was primarily used as a source for lumber, as the trunk is dense, heavy and very close grained. It is a favorite choice of wood for boat builders. 



Generally, Black Olive Trees will reach heights ranging from 20 to 80 feet, and develop strong, sturdy, large diameter trunks covered by a thick, dense gray, deeply fissured bark. The tree canopy grows dense and tight, with most branching spreading outward and horizontally.


Small, smooth, oval leaves emerge a light/medium green, and mature to a deep, slightly blue toned green. They grow along unusual zig-zagged formed stems. Some trees also grow a sharp thorn-like spine on old growth behind the leaf node. Tiny yellowish-green to golden-beige petal-less flowers cover the entire canopy. It spouts an inedible fruit that is attractive to birds.


Growth & Durability

As a whole, the species is highly salt tolerant. It puts down deep anchoring roots, making it able to endure high winds with little damage. Breakage within the canopy and the loss of geotropism (knowing up from down, and which way to grow) was also called out as a fault in this species following examination after intense hurricanes.


However, in the overall, Black Olive Trees held up as well as any other species, and better than most. The root system grows deep and downward and does not spread outward, so this tree can be safely planted within 6 to 8 feet of walls, sidewalks, and other appurtenances without fear of future problems developing.


The Shady Lady Black Olive grows more dense, tight, uniform, and it is smaller, growing to an average of 20 to 30 feet at maturity it is even better suited for street, parking lot, and other commercial and urban applications.


Black Olive Tree Fruit

Despite the common name, this tree (Bucida buceras) is completely unrelated to the edible olive (Olea europaea). The Black Olive nomer is likely the result of the vague resemblance of the fruit to the familiar edible olive (mostly round with a single seed). The fruit of Bucida buceras, however, has little pulp and is not edible.


Artificial Black Olive Trees

Treescapes & PlantWorks create Black Olive Tree trunks is one of two different ways. We either use one or more natural wood tree trunks, or we custom design and construct steel inner-core tree trunks with bark castings made from real trees. The advantage to our custom designed trees and trunks is that are tailored to meet our customer’s exact size and color requirements.


We have built trees at 6’ in overall height as well as those that have towered more than 30’ above the ground level. Additionally, we have constructed trees with various canopy shapes and varying foliage densities.


Our artificial foliage comes with variegated leaf coloring bringing forth botanically accurate shading and detail. We offer inherently fire retardant foliage for indoor use as well as ultraviolet inhibiting foliage for outdoor applications.


Our faux replica Black Olive Trees and fabricated Black Olive Trees are suitable for many design styles, and they have been installed in restaurants and hotels across the world! If you’re interested in a fabricated or replica Black Olive Tree for your next hospitality or décor project, contact us today for further details.



“It’s All About Balance – The Story of Black Olive Tree” – Emerald Garden Goddess

“Bucida buceras” – Florida Gardener

“How to Maintain a Shady Lady Tree” – SF Gate

artificial black olive tree, artificial olive tree sale, replica olive tree at Kennesaw School in Georgia
Black Olive Tree Photo Gallery

You Buy a Tree, We Plant a Tree!

TreeScapes and PlantWorks are pleased to announce a new partnership with One Tree Planted!


We’re known for our beautiful fabricated, replica, and preserved trees for design and décor needs. We’re proud of our creations, but we also love and appreciate living trees. We’re excited to partner with One Tree Planted and increase our corporate social responsibility initiatives.


One Tree Planted is an environmental charity, non-profit organization that supports global reforestation. We’re doing a corporate partnership with them, based on their One for One program: when you buy a tree from us, we donate to have a tree planted. It doesn’t matter how many trees we sell – every tree purchased equals at least one tree planted!


One Tree Planted helps reforestation efforts in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. They also have a special Million Tree Challenge, which is dedicated to planting trees in California. This hits close to home for us, because our corporate headquarters are in San Diego. We’re excited to help our state heal after the many devastating wildfires that have hit California in recent years.


Here’s an explanation of how it works, from the One Tree Planted website:


“We pool the donations for each project and send the funds to our reforestation partners. We vet our partners to ensure that we maintain a tree survival rate of 80-90%.


Depending on the project, our partners choose the best tree species to plant and work with local communities to get them in the ground. Planting typically happens in the rainy season when the soil is wet and provides optimal conditions for tree survival.


Once all the trees are in the ground we send out a report highlighting the impact of your trees. We will be sure to include plenty of pictures of the newly planted section of forest!”

The biggest advantage offered by living trees is their environmental impact. Trees clean the air, remove carbon dioxide, release oxygen, support pollinating insects, and provide habitats and shade to animals and humans. That’s why we’re so excited to help the earth, the air, and all living things that benefit from the presence of living trees.


With that being said, there are also unique and environmental benefits to faux trees:


      • Conserve water with trees that don’t ever need to be watered
      • Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides
      • No need to fertilize, weed, prune, or replant
      • Can place trees anywhere, even if there’s no sun exposure
      • Trees stay in full bloom all year long
      • Can conceal wiring, electronics, and structural elements
      • Custom designed and handmade to meet your exact specifications


Our preserved palm fronds and palm tree bark encased tree trunks are made with recycled plant material. They are so resource-efficient that they qualify for up to 90% of their purchase price in LEED credits! These trees, plants, and palm fronds are “immortalized” after undergoing our proprietary, fully organic, non-toxic, preservation therapy.


We have a thorough process to ensure that all of our products are high quality, durable, and environmentally tested. We’re a leading proponent and supplier of interior, commercial-grade, fire retardant botanicals. Plus, we’re innovators in the use of Inherently Fire Retardant (“IFR”) and Ultraviolet Inhibiting (“UVI”) materials.

Contact us to learn more, or visit OneTreePlanted.org for more details

Artificial Green Wall for IPIC Theater

Artificial green walls were in high demand this year, and we’re expecting interest to continue growing. These non-living vertical gardens have some unique characteristics that make them especially great for commercial design and décor. Our recent creation, the Shuma Custom Vertical Garden for IPIC Theater, is a great example of a successful artificial green wall!


Hamid Hashemi, CEO and President of IPIC Entertainment, planned the theater’s artistic features from the beginning.


“The entire property is inspired by art,” Hashemi said. “We built the space around art.”

IPIC Entertainment To Call Delray Home, New Luxury Theater Open For Moviegoers


Our vertical garden is just one of many art pieces created for the theater:


“More than a dozen artists were commissioned to create site-specific work for the exteriors and interiors of the theater. On a wall in the lobby, vivid swatches of living* Spanish moss emerge from holes like the remnants of a buried forest, and artist Ernest Zacharevic painted the children that frolic among the foliage.” 

Up Close: IPIC CEO Hamid Hashemi

*It’s actually preserved Spanish moss!


The wall features cozy cushioned nooks that are designed for seating, climbing, or lounging. Each nook has a background of preserved moss, along with replica ferns, Hosta plants, and tropical foliage. Zacharevic’s paintings add life and whimsy to this unique piece of mixed media art.  


One recent patron told the Palm Beach Post: “I love that wall. I think it is earthy, invigorating, and zen.” Another article by the Post provides more detail on the range of artwork inside the theater:


“Inside the lobby of the complex are five floor-to-ceiling murals, about 85-by-15 feet each.


Ahead of the opening, people took selfies in front of the artwork, inspired by Miami’s trendy Wynwood Art District.


“It’s really a sight,” said Michelle Soudry, a spokeswoman for the movie theater chain. “People are dropping in to see the incredible art.”


The modern exterior of the theater includes a “living wall” of vertical shrubbery.


“We always looked at building something that would become iconic in Delray Beach,” Hashemi said.

Delray iPic opens this week


Green walls, living or artificial, appeal to humans because they connect us to nature. This is one of the core facets of biophilic design, which continues to gain in popularity. Custom vertical gardens and walls offer larger than life, aesthetically appealing displays that are perfect for today’s audiences.


A large installation, like the one we created for iPic Theater in DelRay Beach, is sure to impress. People naturally gravitate towards greenery, and a huge wall can make us feel fully immersed in the experience. The large scale also allows adults to feel like kids again. It takes us back to a time when everything around us was big, and life was simpler.


Another favorite feature of artificial green walls is how picturesque they are. Social media users seek out places with interesting backgrounds and features that will look great on social media. Many businesses are using this to their advantage, and designing “Instagrammable” exhibits or features.


It’s a savvy strategy that drives foot traffic and results in more online brand recognition online. Vertical gardens are also the perfect way to display your company name, logo, or custom message in a big way. Check out our artificial green wall gallery below for examples!


IPIC Entertainment has accomplished all of this and more with the design of their Delray Beach theater. Check out our image gallery below, and see a video (at right) that highlights this exciting new addition to the South Florida art scene.

Artificial green wall IPIC Theater
Artificial Green Wall Images
Artificial Cherry Blossom Trees Faux Tree

Faux Tree & Vertical Garden at Paramount Miami Worldcenter

TreeScapes and PlantWorks were thrilled to create a faux tree and non-living vertical garden at a luxury condo community in Florida!


Paramount Miami Worldcenter is a dazzling condominium tower that reaches 60 stories, and 700 feet tall.


It boasts an impressive variety of amenities for residents to enjoy, including an outdoor soccer field, and poolside cabanas for sale. There are even plans for a 5,000 square foot flying car skyport atop the tower!


Our team helped to outfit the Conservatory at Worldcenter. We created a unique Shuma Garden green wall, and an artificial Cherry Blossom tree; the interior design creates a calm, welcoming place that residents can enjoy at their leisure.


The Conservatory walls feature intriguing panels of replica plants, alternating with white space. There’s a water feature as well, with a beautiful fabricated cherry blossom tree taking center stage.


Before we discuss the faux tree, though, let’s look more closely at the custom-made Shuma Garden green wall.


Each panel features segments of replica moss, succulents, and greenery. They’re arranged in a striped pattern that gives a graphic element to the space.


Each plant is a different shade of green, with its own unique texture. The faux succulents add pops of color in shades of blue, purple, pink, and yellow.


There are six main types of replica horticulturals used for these Shuma Garden non-living green walls:


      • Replica Watercress
      • Replica Moss
      • Replica Sedum
      • Replica Echeveria
      • Replica Mangrove
      • Replica Chinese Evergreen – Silver Queen


The walls catch your eye quickly, but it’s the fabricated Cherry Blossom that ties it all together. The dark brown trunk is surrounded by replica moss and set within an infinity edge reflecting pool.


Thousands of fabricated blossoms, in shades of white and pink, give the tree that signature Cherry Blossom appeal.


It is breathtakingly beautiful and incredibly realistic! There’s one part that we made purposely unrealistic, though: this tree will bloom all year long, instead of the brief 1-2 week bloom that natural Cherry Blossoms experience annually.


The Conservatory is further accented by a wall of windows, so residents can take in a view of the city as they unwind. Curving, nature-inspired furniture and lighting make the space both sophisticated and welcoming.


This beautiful space is just one of the many amenities available to residents. The developers bill it as “the tower with the most amenities in the world!” Given all that we’ve seen, we have to agree!


Click here to visit the Paramount Miami Worldcenter website

Artificial Cherry Blossom Trees Faux Tree
green walls
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Can Fake Outdoor Trees Help Save Honey Bees?

A Facebook fan recently suggested that our fake outdoor trees could help the declining honey bee population. He commented on an article about how man-made honey bee hives are based on an old design, and they’re not the best environment for bees to thrive:


 “Despite the importance of nests to honey bees, the hives we build them bear little resemblance and have few of the properties of the natural tree nests European honey bees evolved with. In the 21st century, we’re still using hives designed in the 1930s and 1940s, based on ideas from the 1850s. Natural nests were only scientifically surveyed as recently as 1974 and research into their physical properties only began in 2012.”


To Save Honey Bees We Need to Design Them New Hives


John W. on Facebook said:


…We have been creating artificial trees for decades…. They could easily be modified to suit the design parameters that are described in this article. A company like International TreeScapes, LLC are world wide leaders and could do this as a student design project….


After that comment, we had to look into the matter further. We admit it never occurred to us that fake outdoor trees could help the bees! It may be a real possibility, though. It’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor:


“Managed honey bees are the most valuable pollinators in terms of agricultural economics. These hyper-efficient insects can provide pollination to virtually any crop.


Almonds, for example, are almost entirely dependent upon honey bee pollination. Without honey bees, the harvest of blueberries, squash, watermelon, and other fruits would be greatly reduced, driving up prices and disrupting the marketplace.”

 – The Value Of Pollinators To The Ecosystem And Our Economy


Man-made hives lack properties that honey bees prefer in their natural environments. The artificial hives are shorter and wider than those in nature, and they have large entrances that allow beekeepers to reach the bees and honey. 


Current methods of beekeeping are helping to spread a devastating parasite known as Varroa Destructor. Honey bees need high humidity environments, but the parasite prefers the low humidity environments found in man-made hives.


Honey bees prefer tree hollows that offer tall, narrow space, and a small entrance near the bottom. This helps to keep the hot air inside the hive, giving them the humidity that they need.


The bees then “strip off outer layers of bark to smooth the walls, then seal and coat them with propolis or ‘bee glue’ made from tree and plant resins in preparation for building wax honeycombs.” – Types of Natural Beehives


TreeScapes can easily design and create fake outdoor trees that have the dimensions and features that appeal to honeybees. We already create specialty products, like treehouses and cat trees for pets, so why not bee trees? The challenging part would be making these spaces accessible to beekeepers.


We currently lead the industry in the use of faux trees, plants, and hedges to hide electrical equipment, conceal structural elements, and provide discrete storage. These designs could be modified to meet the beekeeper’s needs.


Another option is to create these trees solely for the purpose of rewilding honey bees. The main purpose would be to increase natural honey bee populations. Beekeepers could then harvest the honey once the colony moves on or dies naturally.


California apiculturist Michael Thiele is doing just that:


“Thiele’s method consists of hollowing out logs and strapping them high on tree trunks to mimic bees’ hives before they were domesticated. He also sometimes suspends them from barn rafters or perches them high on wooden tables for a similar effect.”

‘Rewilding:’ One California Man’s Mission to Save Honey Bees


We’re still considering the best ways to accomplish this, and we welcome your feedback! What design would you use for fake outdoor trees to help save the honey bees?  

Contact TreeScapes:
Faux Cherry Blossom Tree from The Handmaiden Film Set

Artificial Cherry Blossom Trees

Artificial cherry blossom trees are a great way to incorporate the beauty and symbolism of cherry blossoms in your home or business. They capture the essence of the tree, but avoid the drawbacks that come with natural cherry blossoms.


TreeScapes and PlantWorks create faux cherry blossom trees for interior and exterior use. Our creations have been featured in restaurants, retail shops, and even movie sets!


Cherry blossoms are a natural choice for decor, but unfortunately, the trees have some unavoidable limitations. They’re not intended for indoor growth, so anyone who would like them inside should go with faux.


Their brief blooming period (1-2 weeks) means that there is a very small window of time for the tree to provide its gorgeous signature white and pink blossoms.


Additionally, the average cherry blossom tree only lives for about 15-20 years. This means that the a cherry blossom tree might be flowering for a total of just six-twelve months of their entire lifespan.


Then there are the beautiful – but messy – leaves, petals, and berries that shed after each bloom. Fabricated artificial cherry blossom trees allow our clients to avoid the mess and upkeep, and enjoy the beauty for decades to come.


Another advantage of replica trees and fabricated trees, like our fake cherry blossom trees, is the ability to customize them. Our trees are artisan crafted by hand to meet your exact specifications. These may include height, foliage spread, foliage density, blossom colors, and more little details that come together for one ultra-realistic creations.


Not looking for realistic? Not a problem! We also make fanciful and imaginative trees, like this gold cherry blossom tree for a Chinese New Year celebration.


Cherry blossoms are a popular choice for our exclusive TreeLusions™ by TreeScapes. These innovative faux trees feature a custom-fabricated tree trunk, interchangeable branching, and a nearly endless array of foliage options. Many clients enjoy artificial cherry blossom trees/foliage in spring, and alternate options (such as maple, pine, and weeping willow) for the other seasons.


TreeLusions™ provide designers and decorators with a way to enjoy cherry blossoms for longer than their natural two week bloom. They also allow you to appreciate the temporary beauty and symbolism of the cherry blossom, since it’s entirely up to you when (or if) you switch to different types of branches and foliage.


Cherry blossoms are widely celebrated in Japan, South Korea, China, and the United States. They emerge in spring, bloom, and then die shortly thereafter.


The fleeting aspect of their beauty has resulted in Japanese cherry blossoms symbolizing humanity and mortality. The basic idea is we are all here for a relatively brief time, and should make the most of it. Their fragility and ephemeral beauty tie in to Buddhist concepts of mindfulness and living in the moment.


These unique trees have different meanings across cultures. In Japan, they also represent good fortune, love, friendship, and affection. This is why Japan’s 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. was so symbolic. The trees stood for friendship and harmony between the two countries. The U.S. reciprocated with a gift of dogwood trees in 1915. Dogwoods have their own distinctive blossoms in similar shades. We also create artificial dogwood trees in multiple sizes and colors.


Cherry blossom trees are known as sakura in Japan, and they’re celebrated each April with an annual tradition called hanami. Additional symbolism in Japan includes new beginnings, hope, and innocence.


Japanese Samurais revered the cherry blossoms, and thought their short-lived blooms looked like drops of blood. The connection to Samurai culture means cherry blossoms are depicted in art, film, poetry, and more. In World War II, Japanese kamikaze pilots would decorate their fighter aircrafts with cherry blossoms, often before leaving for a suicide mission.


Cherry blossoms are also ubiquitous in traditional Japanese tattoos (Irezumi), and are often depicted alongside koi fish, dragons, and hannya masks. 


Americans tend to associate cherry blossoms with the same symbolism that the Japanese do. The the generous 1912 gift from Japan has connected both cultures. There’s an annual National Cherry Blossom Festival held in Washington, D.C. each spring, during their peak bloom period. The events include a blossom kite festival, parade, and even “Petalpalooza”.


“The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC, and celebrates the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.


Today’s Festival now spans four weeks and welcomes more than 1.5 million people to enjoy diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.”




Cherry blossom trees are equally meaningful in China, but they have different symbolism. There, cherry blossoms embody female love, passion, strength, and dominance. The South Korean associations are similar. That’s why one of our artificial cherry blossom trees was on display at the Amazon Studios film premiere and after-party in Los Angeles:


“TreeScapes helped celebrate the premier of ‘The Handmaiden’, a Japanese/Korean film, with the construction of a 17’ high x 16’ wide fabricated Cherry Blossom Tree. Manufactured upon a steel core, the trunk is imbued with both Inherently Fire Retardant (IFR) and Ultraviolet Inhibited (UVI) materials. The texture of the trunk was created with molds created from live cherry trees to mirror the texture of the bark. The fabricated tree was then set upon a custom-built grassy knoll, covered with artificial turf, grass and rock.”


2018 Adex Silver Award Winning Design


Another significant achievement in the world of faux cherry blossom trees is our creation for the movie adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha. Our 32-foot fabricated cherry blossom tree providing a stunning visual representation of some of the film’s main themes. These dialogue quotes show just how central cherry blossoms are to the plot:


Chairman: Nobu has taught me a great deal – patience, for example. And I in turn have tried to teach him: you have to savor life while you can.

Sayuri: The lesson of the cherry blossom!

Chairman: That is why Nobu likes you. We must not expect happiness, Sayuri. It is not something we deserve. When life goes well, it is a sudden gift; it cannot last forever!


The narrator touches on another cherry bloom (sakura) tree simile, saying, “My mother always said my sister Satsu was like wood; as rooted to the earth as a sakura tree. But she told me I was like water. Water can carve its way even through stone…and when trapped, water makes a new path…”


Memoirs of a Geisha received numerous accolades, including the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Art Direction (John Myhre and Gretchen Rau) and Best Achievement in Cinematography (Dion Beebe). It won other similar awards that year, including Best Cinematography (BAFTA Award), Excellence in Production Design (Art Directors Guild Award), and Production Company/Location Team of the Year (California on Location Awards). 


Our artificial cherry blossom tree is often discussed in critiques and praise for Memoirs. The Daily Breeze wrote about the cherry blossom tree and set location/design:


The Huntington’s Japanese Garden provided the backdrop for a cherry blossom-draped scene in “Memoirs of a Geisha.” With a reputation as a premiere location, an average filming day at the Huntington costs $10,000, depending on crew size and the day of filming. For Mike Fantasia, location manager for “Memoirs,” it’s worth it. “It’s a fantastic place to film,” he said. “They take such good care of the place.” Filming for “Memoirs” took place one day in October last year. The garden was dressed up to look like the backyard of a baron’s estate, complete with a 30-foot man-made cherry blossom tree.”


Give That Garden an Oscar


The Los Angeles Times also referenced the sakura theme, noting that “the story arrives in a flurry of snow and pink cherry blossoms, swathed in silk and carefully powdered and primped for its march down the red carpet.” –A ‘Geisha’ Drenched in Cherry Blossoms


TreeScapes and PlantWorks just finished the installation of a fabricated cherry blossom tree for The Conservatory at Paramount Miami Worldcenter, and we have another in production for a Japanese restaurant in La Quinta, California.


If you’re interested in a custom cherry blossom tree – or any kind of custom fabricated, replica, or preserved tree – we’re here to make your vision a reality. Contact us today to learn more: email sales@treescapes.com, or call 1-800-527-8884.

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Fabricated Gold Cherry Blossom Tree
Artificial Cherry Blossom Tree
Faux Cherry Blossom Tree from The Handmaiden Film Set
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Artificial Cherry Blossom Details
Artificial Cherry Blossom on Grass
Full Replica Cherry Blossom Tree

Faux Succulents vs Living Succulents

Faux succulents are a popular new design option, but some wonder why real succulents aren’t sufficient. They’re fairly hardy plants that don’t require a huge amount of upkeep, however, they can also be sensitive and temperamental. Faux succulents (also known as replica succulents or fake succulents) don’t have any of these problems!


Succulents are generally a good choice for those seeking a low-maintenance, affordable plants that can live indoors. They store their water, so they can survive and thrive in warm, dry, indoor climates. The flip side of this advantage is that they’re very sensitive to overwatering, and people tend to overestimate how much water they actually need.


Too much water can result in a soggy, moldy, succulent. Leaves may become soft, mushy, limp, yellowed, or shriveled. This detracts from their natural beauty, reduces any environmental benefits that come from having live plants, and can be a pain to remedy.


Another complication is that too little water can cause many of the same issues described above. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if over or under watering is to blame for a withered or yellowed succulent. Furthermore, those same results can occur from lack of nutrients in the soil. Repotting every year or two is necessary to keep a succulent happy and healthy.


Succulents need sunlight to grow, but sun can also be their worst enemy. If there isn’t enough exposure to natural light, a succulent might die or have stunted growth. Confusion can occur when they need more sunshine, because some succulents respond by stretching towards the sun. It may look like they’re growing well, but in reality the plant is getting weaker.


Now for the next possible issue – too much sunlight. As with water, succulents need just the right amount of sun exposure to become strong and mature. Their leaves can develop brown sunburned spots, which are unsightly, and indicate an unhealthy plant. Beyond that, leaves can fall off if the succulent is exposed to too much heat. Is it any surprise that over-watering can also cause the leaves to fall off?


The biggest difficulty with succulents is diagnosing and remedying what ails them. This is compounded by the fact that they are notoriously sensitive to any changes in their environment, and may react poorly to being relocated or repotted. Succulents are easily shocked and gardeners must introduce changes slowly to ensure that the plant doesn’t decline in response.


Faux succulents offer another advantage that many designers and enthusiasts appreciate: consistency of colors. There are many beautifully hued succulents of all shapes and sizes, but no guarantee that your plant will grow to have the exact color or pattern you expect. Faux succulents give you the choice to specify every little detail, creating an ideal arrangement that stays attractive and “healthy” all year long.


Of course, there’s no need to water faux plants, and therefore no risk of over or under watering. Your fake succulent will not drown or go through a drought, even if you ignore them for months at a time. They also won’t develop sunburned spots, change shape, or yellow like natural succulents often do.


If you’re interested in artificial succulents, check out our gallery of replica succulent images below. We’ve also included images of some plants that are often paired with succulents, like hostas and ferns. Use these pictures as inspiration for your own garden, green wall, or tabletop decor!

Faux Succulents Photo Gallery

Fake Tree Spy Posts in WWI

There’s a hidden history to fabricated trees that you might not be aware of: fake tree spy posts in WWI!


We often think of faux trees as strictly decorative, or for practical uses like concealing security cameras or support beams. In the days of World War I, however, fake trees had an even more important function. They were created and used as spy posts on both sides of the fight. The French came up with the original idea, and taught the British how to make them. Then the Germans caught on and used them to their own advantage. The countries that made up both the Allies and the Central Power used these tactics before the war’s end.


Today we call them fake trees, fabricated trees, artificial trees, etc. But in the early 20th century,  they were referred to as “observation trees”. They share many similarities with the trees we create today, including the most important element: realism.


We pride ourselves on making impressively accurate, true to life fabricated trees that can blend in with natural landscaping. We also offer preserved trees, which look real because they are real! Sometimes our customers request something more artistic or interpretative, but the majority of our work is focused on precisely emulating real trees.


Realism is important in our work today, but it was a matter of life or death for soldiers in WWI. The fake trees they constructed didn’t just have to look like a real tree amidst others in a forest…they had to look exactly like a specific real tree that they had just removed.


If you were at war, and woke up one morning to see a brand new, fully grown tree near the front lines, you would be understandably suspicious. That’s why soldiers had a meticulous process for every stage of this endeavor. Some of the steps they took are very similar to what we still do today!

First, the soldiers would select the appropriate tree. It needed to be big enough to hide inside, and both tall and close enough to afford a good view of the enemy. They preferred trees that had already been bombed, because those were easier to remove and replicate.


Once a tree was chosen, it was carefully measured, sketched, and photographed. Bark samples were a crucial step taken to ensure a realistic tree. These were then paired with plasticine molds of trees that could be customized to become an exact match.


It’s very impressive that they were able to create realistic bark, because their materials were so limited. The trees began as 16 separate sections of hollow steel tubes. These were bolted together with painted, wrinkled iron layers that served as tree bark. Various rough materials like seashells were crushed and applied to replicate the look and feel of real bark.


The hollow steel trees didn’t have much inside, aside from small seats, viewing holes, and scaffolding used for stability. A rope ladder was generally secured near the top, allowing a soldier to climb up and monitor the surroundings. Telescopes and periscopes were used to give them a greater field of vision.


Before the trees could be utilized, though, they had to be installed. This had to happen at night, using the sounds of artillery to mask their work. The old tree had to be removed, and a hole would be dug in the place of the roots. The bottom of the new tree had a steel base that would be secured deep underground.


When morning came, the enemy wouldn’t see anything amiss – just the same dead trees that were there the evening before! Inside, though, were camoufleurs (Camouflage Officers) from the other side, observing and relaying their activities to superiors.


Soldiers used this advantage to learn the general tactics and weaponry employed by the enemy, as well as discovering future battlegrounds or surprise attack sites.


These decoy/camouflage trees no longer stand, but some can be found in various museums. The Australian War Memorial and the Imperial War Museum – London both house authentic observation trees used by the British and Germans.


We haven’t made this exact type of tree, but we have produced something similar. The image below shows an artificial cacti grouping that conceals hidden recording devices. It was designed to be positioned in front of a rock outcrop, which agents could hide behind. We have many options for wireless concealment and trees with embedded technology, so the only limit is your imagination. We can definitely make you a secret observation tree if you would like. It can be designed for adults to use in the real world, or on a smaller scale for a kid’s treehouse feature!