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Port McNeill is a small town in the North Island region of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Located on the island's north-east shore on Queen Charlotte Strait, it was originally a base camp for loggers, which became a settlement in 1936. Logging is still the primary business here, and its produce contributes approximately 8% of the total timber harvest in British Columbia. Port McNeill’s other claim to fame is that it’s home to the world’s largest burls.

A burl (or burr) is a large knot or wart-like outgrowth on the trunk of a tree, that happens when the tree undergoes some form of stress caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Like cancer, the tree cells multiply uncontrollably resulting in abnormal bumps on the trunk. In some tree species such as redwoods, burls can grow to great size, which isn’t surprising given that redwoods are one of the largest and tallest trees on the planet. Burls in redwoods can encircle the entire trunk, and in the presence of moisture the burl itself can give birth to new redwood trees.

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The world’s largest burl discovered in 2005. Photo credit

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