Imagine for a moment that a plant (let's say a maple tree, though any plant will do), has unlimited energy. There's no conversion of sunlight or anything - the energy is just there, being soaked directly into the tree. This energy is infinite, as much as the tree needs.

How fast could the tree grow? If you have an elf 'tree-shaping' this way, could he theoretically form something within five minutes? Or is it more like five years?

*Note: Despite the elf illustration, magic is not a factor and should not be considered. The only factors are unlimited energy and the plant involved.

  • $\begingroup$ just unlimited energy or also unlimited nutrients and water? $\endgroup$
    – depperm
    Sep 30, 2016 at 15:43
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ All hail the SUPER Bamboo, which when planted grows 3 feet per day... wait, that's just regular bamboo. I forgot where i was going with this, but point is, Bamboo grows really fast, but does so because of its composition. Trees would probably grow at most only slightly faster than normal without modification, making new plant matter is already not that limited by energy and nutrients when humans are taking care of it. So, must it be a normal tree? $\endgroup$
    – Ryan
    Sep 30, 2016 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @depperm Just energy. $\endgroup$ Sep 30, 2016 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Ryan No, I'm willing to allow some speculation on tree composition. It's for a fantasy novel. $\endgroup$ Sep 30, 2016 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


in jurassic times, giant bamboo could grow as much as a meter per day, however sustained growth at this level is not possible due to gravity, as rapid growth will focus less on structure


the reason a weedkiller works is that it is a chemical (auxin) that is used for growth, but the high concentrations are what kill it, as the auxin causes an unsustainable growth

the next best real life example is the "rainbow eucalyptus" which grows so rapidly that its bark continually peels off, revealing underdeveloped bark which can be blue and purple (less developed) to orange and red (more developed)


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