The Broccoli Tree: A Parable

  • Published on Mar 6, 2018
  • Some thoughts on what can be lost, and what can't be, when we share what we love.
    This video was produced, edited, and inspired by Seth Radley. Thanks to Patrik Svedberg for photographing the Broccoli Tree and for the rights to use his beautiful images in this video.
    Additional images by Elna Dahlstrand, Nina Mattsson, Mike Beauregard, and Shutterstock.

    Subscribe to our newsletter!
    And join the community at
    Help transcribe videos -
    John's twitter -
    John's tumblr -
    Hank's twitter -
    Hank's tumblr -

Comments • 2 294

  • Marthy Roxas
    Marthy Roxas 4 days ago

    Hi, John. There is a chance that the tree is not entirely gone. If the cut is clean and the roots are still there, there is a chance it will grow back. It may not look like it was before, but it may still be there. I don't know I may just be optimistic.

  • Felipe Cano
    Felipe Cano 13 days ago

    Wow 😮😮😮😮

  • Pit Viper XP
    Pit Viper XP 15 days ago

    Hank cut the tree. That's why hes mentioned TWICE ✌

  • Ava.florez1
    Ava.florez1 27 days ago

    Woah! That was deep

  • john nunya
    john nunya Month ago

    And I thought I'd make it one day without focusing on how much I hate people....

  • MagicalFruitBasket
    MagicalFruitBasket Month ago

    "Tree's gonna get cut down innit"
    Every. Single. Time

  • giofontenelle
    giofontenelle Month ago

    ‪”you absolutely cannot un-saw a tree‬.” - i keep going back to this phrase even after months.

  • Jagyanseni Pruthal
    Jagyanseni Pruthal Month ago

    Nooo!! I wanted to visit it 😢

  • Buğra Kaan Akıncı

    Although the tree was damaged, judging by how a very big portion of it was left, I think it wasn't intended to kill the tree. Hopefully, it will recover and keep on providing the once glorious shade it had been providing for all of its lifetime.

  • Jimmie the Commie
    Jimmie the Commie Month ago

    It should be illegal to give us these kinds of feels

  • টোল জামাই/ V's moonchild mahir

    I'm crying, this reminds me of the poem 'the trees are down' and I can't believe how people can do such things

  • Pangasauras
    Pangasauras 2 months ago

    What kind of a-hole cuts down a tree just because people like it?

  • Rainbow Hyphen
    Rainbow Hyphen 2 months ago

    You can't un-saw a tree. But you can plant one, and be patient.

  • Grizzy Harpie
    Grizzy Harpie 2 months ago

    So i'm guessing the people who disliked this video did it by accident.
    Cause my mind is not able to come up with a valid reason whatsoever.

  • Dominique west
    Dominique west 2 months ago

    BOOK IDEA......The Broccoli Tree

  • Bunny
    Bunny 2 months ago

    This video is beautiful. Thanks, John.

  • MyrtheMysterious
    MyrtheMysterious 2 months ago

    I love how you took something quite sad, and turned it into a beautiful story - still sad, but inspiring as well... thanks for that

  • Morea Fen
    Morea Fen 2 months ago

    Am I the only one who comes back to this video again and again for comfort?

  • Sovanjan Banerjee
    Sovanjan Banerjee 2 months ago


  • BraverThanYouBelieve
    BraverThanYouBelieve 2 months ago

    omg im crying about a tree :'(

  • Beautiful Images
    Beautiful Images 3 months ago

    Nice video dear keep it up

  • priyam pranjuleema dutta

    I am 3 months late !!! But this is so heartbreaking!!

  • Kitty
    Kitty 3 months ago

    why did you make me cry about a tree

  • manic mechanic
    manic mechanic 3 months ago

    It only takes one idiot to destroy something worth saving. As a lover of classic cars I Know this all to well.

  • Mirjam M
    Mirjam M 3 months ago

    I don't agree with you that it was still worth it. The Broccoli tree most certainly would still be there if it wasn't for its fame. Yes, many people around the world ''took shelter under it's canopy'' but is the admiration of many people for something worth the ultimate abolition of that thing? Can we say it was still worth it? I can't. I think that getting to know and loving something is just fine and something we should be doing as human beings, but giving a public identity to the object of our admiration thus endangering it to the inevitable hatred and stupidity we KNOW exists is not right even though many people might benefit. Especially if you don't have the means to protect it.
    I don't think ideas are worth causing pain or dying for. And the pleasure we as humans had by seeing the photographs of the tree and growing fond of it is not worth that tree being cut down. Now, of course I understand that the photographer didn't want things to come to this but what I am saying is that we shouldn't comfort ourselves with the notion that ''at least someting beautiful came out of this'' I think because things have intrinsic value regarldess of value givers - us. And that is something that would be irresponsible and wrong to manipulate with e.g. put on a display to ''share the beauty''. It is not worth it. That's why it would have been better if, although - I agree - sad, the author of the photos would have discarded the idea and enjoyed the tree by himself when walking to work each morning...

  • Eudel Ayuban
    Eudel Ayuban 3 months ago

    this makes me so sad.

  • Shannon Not relevant
    Shannon Not relevant 3 months ago +1


  • Mikey Moughtin
    Mikey Moughtin 3 months ago

    this video is pretty much one line. "you cannot un-saw a tree, but you can't un-see it either."

  • Sammy Leo
    Sammy Leo 3 months ago

    My favorite John Green novel.

  • Brian Hutzell
    Brian Hutzell 3 months ago

    In a way, this video has become a broccoli tree for me. I keep coming back to it. I react differently to it depending on my mood, and how my day has gone. I’ve given it a thumbs up and shared it and linked to it from other social media sites. It feels intensely personal and private, like part of a late-night conversation between just you and me, exposing our innermost secrets, but I don’t want to hoard it for myself. I want other people to see it and appreciate it with me. John, you made a video about something lovely being destroyed, and in doing so turned a tragedy into something beautiful. I love all the silliness, inside jokes, and peanut butter faces, but the main reason I watch Vlog Brothers is that you highlight the awesome in the world. Thank you!

  • Gustavo Bolson
    Gustavo Bolson 3 months ago +1

    I keep coming back to this video time and time again. I truly believe it is the most touching piece of storytelling I have ever seen. Thank you for making me think in a way I have not thought in a long time.

  • Pheobe Owusu
    Pheobe Owusu 3 months ago

    Sometimes I forget that John is a professional writer. Then he uploads something like this.

  • Talbot Solenberger
    Talbot Solenberger 3 months ago +1

    These are some of my favorite videos on vlogbrothers and in all of youtube. videos like these, and Thoughts from Places.

  • Fall_Out Boy
    Fall_Out Boy 4 months ago

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Dont Fuck With Me Youtube

    Goddamn John Green is a great writer.

  • Daniel Moore
    Daniel Moore 4 months ago

    I'M GONNA FIND THOSE S.O.B'S AND CUT THEM DOWN!!!! (Beautiful film, Hank)

  • Lian Dyogi
    Lian Dyogi 4 months ago

    This made me teary eyed 😢

  • Matthew Cupelli
    Matthew Cupelli 4 months ago

    This is such a beautiful video

  • Daniel Hale
    Daniel Hale 4 months ago +1

    Someday someone is going to be explaining to their children that their claim to fame in life is destroying something other people loved, only because they loved it, just to hurt them. They had no horse in this race; just wanted to hurt people. Their claim to fame now is being needlessly malicious. It's their personal identity, their personality, if not before, then certainly now. It's who they are now, not because they never had the potential to be more, but because the act, the choice, severed that alternate potential. Even such a small act; it was who they chose to be, and it will stand in the way of future choices.
    I wonder if they have the ability now to ever be better than that, instead of repeating and amplifying the malice over a lifetime. Honestly I doubt it, but there's always those crazy reversals that make for a good story. If only because they are so, so rare.

  • Oh, Marge.
    Oh, Marge. 4 months ago

    "To share something is to risk losing it." I feel this so deeply.

  • Microwave
    Microwave 4 months ago


  • Jagh Haringenamn
    Jagh Haringenamn 4 months ago

    I just realized how difficult it is to pronounce Vättern for a non-swede.

  • Matthew Rowland
    Matthew Rowland 4 months ago

    Does this feel like episode zero of The Anthropocene Reviewed to anyone else?

  • Kyle McCallum
    Kyle McCallum 4 months ago +1

    I've been following you guys for over half a decade now and I think this is the most beautiful video you've posted yet.

  • SilverFlame819
    SilverFlame819 5 months ago +1

    How sad that some people are so shitty that they can only feel good about tearing things down that other people love. What a pitiful existence they must lead.

  • Annie
    Annie 5 months ago +6

    I'm still torn on whether I'd have been happier not sharing the pictures and yet having the tree around vis-a-vis what happened.

  • Morgan Freeman
    Morgan Freeman 5 months ago

    Why am i crying about a tree 👏😢😢

  • Bad Gammers
    Bad Gammers 5 months ago +1

    I feel irrationally angry over this. . .

  • Jermane Anyoha
    Jermane Anyoha 5 months ago +1

    You took me on a journey

  • Amber Kearney
    Amber Kearney 5 months ago +1

    WTH.....who would do that????

  • jyjryu22799
    jyjryu22799 5 months ago

    This makes me absolutely furious

  • OP's OC
    OP's OC 5 months ago +1

    I cry for a tree but the troll in me is laughing. Too wide a personality.

  • Rae Raaj
    Rae Raaj 5 months ago

    This was incredibly moving and profound. Thank you

  • Clara Heis
    Clara Heis 5 months ago

    Willy, I assume, has died. And I would like to say that he was the broccoli tree of us nerdfighters and we love him dearly. It’s now April and we miss him so. Goodbye little Willy.

  • Zenytram Searom
    Zenytram Searom 5 months ago

    why some people has an urge to destroy the happiness of other people, and the more popular it is the greater that urge to destroy them, why this exist?

  • Daphne Stainbrook
    Daphne Stainbrook 5 months ago +1

    Man, that was beautiful. You should become a writer or something.

  • Cooper Beggs
    Cooper Beggs 5 months ago


  • Shall NotWither
    Shall NotWither 5 months ago

    As a broccoli tree has his metal tested so man too will stand before a judge.

  • GOGOgomes
    GOGOgomes 5 months ago

    i also had a tree i my life, it was in this park near my childhood home, it was twisted and low to the ground, so much that you could climb it up with no effort, i called her the DragonBikeShip, tree because when i climb it up it could be any of those things, and i remeber beeing excited more with the possibilities of what i could to with the tree, rather them the actual things i ended up doing't, i din't shared my tree, but it ended being cut down too, i would like to had shared my tree, because instead of share my memories of a dead tree, i would share the same felling of a kid playing in the park.

  • Books From Boo
    Books From Boo 5 months ago +1

    This is my absolute favorite video of vlogbrothers

  • Emma Clark
    Emma Clark 5 months ago +1

    This is fantastic.

  • Nirav Shah
    Nirav Shah 5 months ago +1

    Just one word for this vlogpost - Wow!

  • BvousBrainSystems
    BvousBrainSystems 5 months ago +1

    I'm all ready to type "sad profound music" on TVclip and have a fantastic evening.

  • The Night King
    The Night King 5 months ago

    this makes me cry, every time. that part where hank says you loved something and you shared it but eventually...

  • mike w
    mike w 5 months ago +1

    How's it going John I don't know if you will ever see this but it doesn't really matter. I just wanted to say that both you and hank and everyone at crash course has changed my life and how i see the world and history around me. You rekindle my love of History and I just wanted to say thank you to you and Hank and everyone that's involved with the things that you guys do. And I hope that you all have happy healthy and long lives for you and your families and know that I will never forget to be awesome.

  • hey buddy you in cape town?

    alltså vilka jävla hönshjärnor som gör ngt sånt >:(

  • Abdan Syaifur Rachman
    Abdan Syaifur Rachman 5 months ago +1


  • Meri dian
    Meri dian 5 months ago

    thank you John

  • JessGeekz
    JessGeekz 5 months ago

    You did not just make me want to cry over a tree omg

  • Madisyn Arnold
    Madisyn Arnold 5 months ago

    i didn't expect to be sobbing about a tree but here i am

  • Bayli Chelsea
    Bayli Chelsea 5 months ago

    "If we hoard and hide what we love, we can still lose it, but then we are alone in the loss."
    My heart.

  • Bayli Chelsea
    Bayli Chelsea 5 months ago


  • Alix Mordant
    Alix Mordant 5 months ago +1

    So darn sad! That place looks like a boring bare wasteland now. I lived in lots of places in Europe (including Sweden, actually Jonkopings lan, where the Broccoli tree was - I may have seen it). And every year many delightful trees (nearly always the rarer and frankly more beautiful deciduous trees) got cut down in all those places, leaving me sad and infuriated. And there are no new trees planted as a (meager) replacement either!
    Commercial plantations of (mostly spruces and other) coniferous trees darken the landscapes in northern and central Europe, impoverishing the habitat. The gorgeous native deciduous trees get less and less, especially as whole forests.
    About the Broccoli tree: It should have not been cut down as a whole because of that one cut. Sure, it may have lost some of its famous shape, but it would have survived as a nice tree, doing its important "job" in nature, if the authorities would have only cut that one bole. Deplorable decision.

  • Bear McBear MC
    Bear McBear MC 5 months ago

    The google maps page for the broccoli tree is like a memorial now it's so sad.
    "Closed permanently," in red letters.

  • Trevor Castle
    Trevor Castle 5 months ago

    Similar phenomenon going on like a social experiment on reddit right now at sorry only works if you had a reddit account made before april 1st 2018.

  • tolkienfan4ever
    tolkienfan4ever 5 months ago

    RIP Broccoli Tree.

  • Kenneth Cain
    Kenneth Cain 5 months ago

    Who the F**K would do something like that? Does anyone know? Oh well. Plant another one.

  • confusedwhale
    confusedwhale 5 months ago

    You might not be able to un-saw a tree, but you can plant the seeds of a new on in its place.
    Destruction is everywhere, but you can rebuild and start anew.

  • kenrick encinas
    kenrick encinas 5 months ago

    That tree looks like it has enough trunk left to regrow. Infact it really didn't need to be cut down in the first place the initial vandalism just killed one or two trunks. The tree was hurt by some one, but it wasn't killed. Infact it's probably still not dead.

  • whangadude
    whangadude 5 months ago

    I didn't want to be crying this early in the morning

  • Dave Joseph
    Dave Joseph 5 months ago

    Heck, the way to hurt these morons is to calmly vote in a new broccoli tree. There are probably thousands of reasonable candidates.

  • Bostryx placatus
    Bostryx placatus 5 months ago

    As a tree lover and tree photographer I had this experience for the thousand time. Many of the trees that I photograph back in the days are now gone. For buildings, for streets, for the safety...

  • Dave Gent
    Dave Gent 5 months ago

    I needed a video for a journal entry for my students. This is perfect.

  • Floodlime
    Floodlime 5 months ago

    I love this so much, thank you John

  • Shannon McGuffey
    Shannon McGuffey 5 months ago +1

    My high school marching band lovingly referred to one of the trees by our practice field as the "broccoli tree" and we'd "gather round the broccoli tree" before and after practices. This particular broccoli tree may be gone, but it is survived by broccoli tree brethren, which are at least appreciated by some band kids in Florida.

  • GalaxSpeedster
    GalaxSpeedster 5 months ago

    Whaaat? The Broccoli Tree was cut down ON MY 21st BIRTHDAY?!?! Yeah, my 21st birthday was on 9/27 last year, but what a cruel coincidence!

  • Liv
    Liv 5 months ago

    Stepped away from vlogbrothers for a few years, now coming back I see that it has faded none from it's formal glory

  • Abbie Edwards
    Abbie Edwards 5 months ago +1

    I've lost count of how many times I've watched this

  • Patrick Monteith
    Patrick Monteith 5 months ago

    I'm pretty sure I just cried about a tree. Yup.

  • Adam the Alien
    Adam the Alien 5 months ago

    Back in college, I had an assignment to write a poem based on an image. The image was of a small bear cub alone in a snowy forest. The scenery around the bear was beautiful, but the bear appeared lonely to my eyes. My poem concluded that beauty is finite when it isn't shared in some way with others, and I still believe that today. The Broccoli Tree is gone, but its beauty remains infinite (or, rather, as close to infinite as anything can be in a universe of temporary existence), because it was shared.

  • Marit Ørndal
    Marit Ørndal 5 months ago

    this video actually made me cry.

  • A G
    A G 6 months ago

    This was so, so profound.

  • Hiba
    Hiba 6 months ago

    That was very sad.

    M1NDCR4WL3R 6 months ago

    Who is chopping onions!?

  • Ricardo Balvanera
    Ricardo Balvanera 6 months ago

    Darren Aronofsky's Mother! in a nutshell

  • Olivia Phillips
    Olivia Phillips 6 months ago

    John, can you please write a book of poetry? Your narration is just incredible. I feel the same way about the way you write your characters' observations in your books-- their meta thoughts about life and things like that are always my favorite parts! I really hope you publish poetry one day :)

  • Dillon Walker
    Dillon Walker 6 months ago

    Damn, John Green really knows how to make an inspiring youtube video.

  • Emily K-L
    Emily K-L 6 months ago +1

    I used to like to write in second person. I would even do informational essays in second person sometimes. But my teachers always told me that you weren't really supposed to write in second person and people only ever really wrote in third and first person. So I stopped writing in second person. Which is really too bad becuase as I listened to this video I was reminded of why I liked to write using 'you'. It doesn't make me feel like I am being told the personal story of someone else, or that someone is telling me the story of another person. It makes me feel like I am a part of the story, someone is telling my story. It makes me feel like the content of whatever is being told is important and relevant to me, and has significance which I can relate to. And by far the best part about about second person is that it gives that feeling to everyone who hears it, and thereby connects everyone back to that original significance on a personal level. Sorry that this is a particularly long comment that has little to do with the actual content of the video, I just reall like second person narration.

  • 421merv
    421merv 6 months ago +1

    I want to get one of the prints of this tree? Does anybody know how or where I can get a print?

    • Patrik Svedberg
      Patrik Svedberg 4 months ago

      Hi. Search for The Broccoli Tree on Tictail // Patrik S

  • Zachary Kenney
    Zachary Kenney 6 months ago

    This is an incredible story. Mesmerizing. Ashamed to see what happened.