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.

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Comments • 2 183

  • 421merv
    421merv 6 minutes ago

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

  • Zachary Kenney
    Zachary Kenney Hour ago

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

  • Alexandra Shine
    Alexandra Shine 6 hours ago

    This is such a humbling video and one that came at the right time as I decide the future of my blog - thank you.

  • ShelbyRaeMarshall
    ShelbyRaeMarshall 8 hours ago +1

    I live in a city where there's was a lake with a log sticking out of it near the road. People painted the log to look like a dragon and it became a beloved landmark. Because who doesn't love a lake dragon right? But in the night someone boated out to the dragon, sawed it off, and took it.
    But. The community, saddened by the loss of their dragon that had been but a coincidence in the first place made a new dragon and installed it where the old one had been. It's monitored by a dragon committee, and removed before the lake ices over. And I love him every time I get to drive by that lake.
    We can't un-saw a tree (or a dragon log), and that's tragic. But a community can come together and build something new. Re-plant a tree, re-install a dragon, and have something that the community can protect and love as something that they were a part of. Community building and collective belonging to an object created out of love for something else is an amazing thing to see happen. All because there used to be a log that stuck out of a lake, that kind of looked like a dragon.

  • Kristoffer Johnsen
    Kristoffer Johnsen 8 hours ago

    Hej John, looove the pronounciation of Vättern!! Your thing is mispronouncing things, and happily for me as a Swede you are as proficient at mispronouncing Swedish as other languages!!! Made me smile, actually. Thank you for the fantastic work you ( and Hank ) do for the online community and the world!

  • Emily Heinen
    Emily Heinen Day ago

    What are good reasons to cut trees down? Clarke University, the college I currently attend, is a "tree campus". Yet right by my dorm they are cutting down numerous trees to make room to put a practice feild for a new football team. I don't like it. It was a very beautiful part of campus that is now sparse and it saddens me whenever I go outside.

    I loved this video and these were my departing thoughts.

  • Emily Heinen
    Emily Heinen Day ago

    Now I want know more!!!!

  • JG
    JG Day ago

    This is one of the all time great vlogbrother videos.

  • Charles Goelen
    Charles Goelen 2 days ago

    Dammit humans always find a way to screw everything 😡

  • Lasse Helland
    Lasse Helland 2 days ago


  • Mr_Romo
    Mr_Romo 2 days ago

    What does it say about me that I literally cried during this video?

  • TheAnthraxBiology
    TheAnthraxBiology 2 days ago

    Well this is why John is amazing.

  • TheEndlessKnot
    TheEndlessKnot 3 days ago

    Man this story makes me hate humanity.

  • sepetrose
    sepetrose 3 days ago


  • J R
    J R 3 days ago

    The Broccoli Tree photographer cut it down himself so others cannot take pictures of it....& so he can continue to be the only one with the photos & continue to make money.

  • fidelio
    fidelio 4 days ago

    i know john it's not likely you'll see this, but if you do, please google "When You Give a Tree an Email Address".
    and thank you, for everything.

  • skankhunt42
    skankhunt42 4 days ago +1

    This got me, I've watched it over and over again. John telling a story is great. The message is so powerful to me.

  • Andrea
    Andrea 4 days ago

    Sad at his moment... but remember however or whoever...this tree is continuing to grow stronger and better then ever for anyone and everyone to share in its beauty and love forever to come!... :) Florida fan :o

  • Andrew Wyton
    Andrew Wyton 4 days ago

    There should be a large, un-cut-downable metal frame containing your favourite broccoli tree photo put up there in memory of the tree. It would also just be cool because the same view, but with tree. Kinda preserve it's legacy

  • Sofi V A
    Sofi V A 4 days ago

    Why would anyone do that?

  • Nikki Bishop
    Nikki Bishop 5 days ago

    'This is why we can't have nice things' :(

  • Sarah Beal
    Sarah Beal 5 days ago

    Damn it John, I didn't expect to come on TVclip today to cry over a tree.
    Then again, there are worse things to cry over.

  • Laura Norda
    Laura Norda 5 days ago

    Who knew a video about a tree could be so moving

  • I just want comfortable shoes!

    Just like a poem by Maya Angelou or one of many comments by Ice T on SVU, this has silenced the noise of my mind.

  • Indie Lifeex
    Indie Lifeex 6 days ago

    this is beautiful.

  • Amanda Hassinger
    Amanda Hassinger 6 days ago

    Liked for the wisdom imparted...and because there is no sad react button on TVclip. Thank you for a piece of perspective that will, in my life, transcend trees.

  • BubblyTaro
    BubblyTaro 6 days ago

    It's like that one episode in Courage the Cowardly Dog. 😢

  • Bri M
    Bri M 6 days ago

    I’ve been a fan of Vlogbrothers for about 5 years now. Which is crazy, I never expected time to move so quickly. However, something that I noticed is that I’d always chosen a favorite of the brothers, either Hank or John. I feel that in my more youthful years, I enjoyed Hank’s liveliness, and videos such as these from John acted as sort of a sleep supplement. But as I grow older, and my interests mature, I find appreciation for these videos. In a way, I hope someday I grow an appreciation for all things in the same way John does. I wish to harbor the same enthusiasm as Hank. These men have been the only role models I’d ever known; and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • 30stmFantasy
    30stmFantasy 6 days ago

    So many aholes killing & destroying, I can't watch a nice video and not expect some person has done something stupid. But let's pray for them since that always helps. :(

  • cerezas otirac
    cerezas otirac 6 days ago

    That poor broccoli tree.

  • PareBot
    PareBot 6 days ago

    Holy shit. Im sad now.

  • MeiTheMediator
    MeiTheMediator 6 days ago

    That is so sad :(
    There was an old tree in my city too. And I think it was protected and had a small sign on it. But it was really close to busy traffic with just a tiny fence around it, and it probably got injured some day, last time I walked past it I think it was chopped down too.

  • Pankaj Doharey
    Pankaj Doharey 6 days ago

    Who are these assholes that enjoy cutting trees? Really sad.

  • carol markusa
    carol markusa 6 days ago

    Aww, mourning a tree I just met.
    This is how we should treat trees:

  • Timothy Kiewel
    Timothy Kiewel 6 days ago

    Beautiful. A tale of joy and sorrow, and of love long lost.

  • Bryce Nerdstrom
    Bryce Nerdstrom 7 days ago


  • vicky
    vicky 7 days ago

    That's so sad why did someone have to cut it down?

  • Luis Alejandro Perez

    John Green, here I sit with goosebumps on my arms. Thankyou for the brilliance of being able to translate perspective into language.

  • Marimba Maurice
    Marimba Maurice 7 days ago

    Asolutely loved this project and it still breaks my heart that the tree is gone. You presented the history of the tree very well, thanks for saying alk these nice words ❤️

  • Wretched Fretched
    Wretched Fretched 7 days ago

    The city who maintained the park probably got tired of the unsolicited attention.

  • Zeppy
    Zeppy 7 days ago

    "Sharing something is to risk losing it..."
    This encapsulates something that has been going around in my head for far too long. Thank you.
    RIP Broccoli Tree

  • Mark Bush
    Mark Bush 7 days ago

    I’m not what most people would call a tree hugger by any means, but why would anyone do that? I know that far worse things happen around the world, but this is just sad!

  • theemilyvm
    theemilyvm 7 days ago

    If I could “love” a video I would do so on this one.

  • Anin Lashkar
    Anin Lashkar 8 days ago

    We need axe control.

  • Names
    Names 8 days ago

    Yeah.. really sad how tourists can ruin your local community so that people see no other escape as killing their favorite thing.. to be free again.

  • Altria
    Altria 8 days ago

    This shows how other human beings are both the source of your misery and happiness. Beautiful video John.

  • irrelevant areej
    irrelevant areej 8 days ago

    this made me sad but i appreciate it so much

  • Romaissa Ch
    Romaissa Ch 8 days ago

    That was Beautiful, Sad, Deep...

  • Bork
    Bork 9 days ago

    What an absolutely ridiculous and self obsessed conclusion. It's ok if things get destroyed by pointing them out. Because it lives on... in our heads / some images I uploaded. Right at this minute. Sure. Which isn't ephemeral at all. It's like the after image of retina burn. By the time your grandkids, and probably even your kids come along / grow up, it will be gone for good out of memory too. No one cares that you might have had a painfully trendy and on point middle class Calendar in your kitchen. It will be forgotten. If that something that was destroyed took hundreds, or thousands of years, impacting its environment in all sorts of ways, only for some dysfunctional a-hole to come along and destroy it, then no, it's beauty does not survive beyond the 5 minutes you can be bothered to remember it, or make an artsy youtube vid about it. Ask the birds that would sit in it that now can't. I'm pretty sure they have a different opinion on whether it's beauty survives on. By someone chopping it down you've impacted the environment in a very real and lasting way - beyond your capacity to remember that internet thing those years ago. This video serves as an excellent example of much of our careless attitude to our environment - thrown into sharp relief by the self obsessed internet age we have at the moment - if I don't make a video about it, or blog it, does it really exist ? It's ok, I took a selfie of it. It will live on forever *(in the given context of my blog only, and also whilst I can be bothered to remember it, for future generations it's gone for good, and everyone else can now only experience it via my blog ( result !! ) ).
    Just a humble tree. Does it matter ? Probably not. The attitude is telling though. Imagine if that tree were 5000 years old. Or a planet billions of years in the making. And it was then trashed. But hey. It's ok. Because we shared some pictures of it. And look at this funky calendar I have. And my context is all that matters. Screw anyone else coming along after me. By the way, have you see this beauty on my instagram. Amazing huh ? You know they trashed that a few years ago. Uh huh.

  • Ines Cyntia
    Ines Cyntia 9 days ago

    Whyyyy did they cut that poor tree:((((

  • iwashungry4hands
    iwashungry4hands 9 days ago

    Can someone please help a curious botanist out and tell me what species of tree that was? The pictures are too far away for me to tell, plus I'm not familiar with the trees of Sweden generally speaking. Can't seem to find the answer :/

  • Devanshi Gupta
    Devanshi Gupta 9 days ago

    This made me cry 😭😭😭😭

  • naihanchin Kempo
    naihanchin Kempo 9 days ago

    Moral. Life is short, We may not have the time we think, The time to do the things we want too. Or, have things\people in our life forever. We don't have forever.

  • Whitewonder11
    Whitewonder11 9 days ago

    This makes my head hurt its so deep

  • thewinterizzy
    thewinterizzy 9 days ago

    This is so wonderful. Heartbreaking, but still wonderful.

  • Rachel Wood
    Rachel Wood 9 days ago

    So sad... Why are humans programed to destroy?? 😞

  • Lady Sugarquill
    Lady Sugarquill 9 days ago

    Was that legal? You can't saw a tree in a public space here.
    Maybe the takeaway here is that you should only share what's important with people who you are sure won't want to destroy it. (I wish I could make so many of my favorite books and movies password-protected...)

  • Bored Gaming
    Bored Gaming 9 days ago

    Nothing can last forever. And in a world where opportunity is the driving factor, even less so. Seeing something so tragic is very reminiscent of going to a childhood home and seeing all the changes. The boulder you used to make chalk drawings on is moved . The sidewalk you used to play hopscotch on is repaired. The porch you used to ride around on your bigwheel is different entirely. And the tree you used to swing off of is now destroyed.
    Life is full of these little moments and memories. People aren't very good at living in the moment, only at proving the moment existed. This tree was here for years and years. People have walked by that tree, probably commented that it's nice, and moved on. But the non existence of the tree, after being there for so long and being familiar, is the jarring part.

  • Nory-Chan
    Nory-Chan 9 days ago

    You lift me up only to let me fall in order to show me how humanity sucks.

  • jeremy
    jeremy 9 days ago

    OMG...this is the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing

  • Josh Hiroti
    Josh Hiroti 9 days ago

    "One Tree Hill" in Auckland New Zealand, had someone saw it down a few years back.

  • Kaity
    Kaity 9 days ago

    Wow, well that was a ride of emotions, and a beautiful video.

  • Nicole WB
    Nicole WB 9 days ago

    The power of John to make me cry over a tree

  • WorldoftheNebulous
    WorldoftheNebulous 9 days ago

    There was broccoli in my wrap when I watched this :/

  • DaBoff99
    DaBoff99 9 days ago

    Beautiful video

  • Hanna Bergström
    Hanna Bergström 9 days ago

    Okey, 3 points from a swedish person.
    1. Omg thats my country, we and in extencion me, myself and I is being recogniced by my main role model
    2. This video perfectly exemplifies the greatness of vlogbrothers and nerdfighteria; It’s interesting, funny, smart, beautiful, entertaining, and lost importantly, makes it’s viewers better people, if only by a little.
    3. John completely butchering Vättern may be the funniest thing I’ve heard all year 😂

  • Fox Douglas
    Fox Douglas 10 days ago

    Definitely one of my favorite videos you have done. I have watched it more than once and I still tear up.

  • mikeysrose
    mikeysrose 10 days ago

    This is the first time I've cried over a Vlogbrothers video since Lemon died.

  • Iris Miller
    Iris Miller 10 days ago

    I'm not crying you're crying!!1!!

  • Jamie Schuh
    Jamie Schuh 10 days ago

    okay wow who knew i could care about a tree so much

  • AllannaXD
    AllannaXD 10 days ago


  • Nowhere Man
    Nowhere Man 10 days ago

    Unf***ing believable! But I have two questions:
    1. Was the first sawing off an act of vandalism that somehow went completely unobserved?
    2. Why oh WHY did the authorities (I presume it was the authorities) saw off the rest of the trunks ?
    There are trees around the world that are hundreds of years old - which saw damage either through natural disaster, or war/vandalism. And although the damaged parts fell off - the rest of the tree still survived - for hundreds more years. So why did they saw off all the trunks ?
    I'm even more perplexed that happened in Sweden! I spent over a year living in Scandinavia and the authorities there have a low tolerance to vandalism. Scandinavian district councils and governments are among the most eco-friendly on the planet. So can anyone shed any more light on this story?

  • chikitabowow
    chikitabowow 10 days ago

    "I am the Lorax and i speak for the trees, and the trees say this transgression must not go unpunished."

  • the57bears
    the57bears 10 days ago

    The Art Assignment: monument to the Broccoli Tree

  • U R NOT ME
    U R NOT ME 10 days ago +1

    Choppin Broc-cccccohhh-LEEEEEEEEEE

  • U R NOT ME
    U R NOT ME 10 days ago

    Nicole Simpson's Home ....GONE!!

  • Frédérique Aubertin
    Frédérique Aubertin 10 days ago

    To offer a different perspective: the tree is a living being just like us, although it looks different. This video is great, but it is very human-centered: "you make a picture", "you share the tree"... It's like the tree was the next spoon in my drawer. Maybe, when we want to share a picture of a living being, we as humans should also think twice about it, as it is not just our fate which is engaged.

  • RaccoonTour
    RaccoonTour 10 days ago

    I am now crying about a tree I have only learned just learned about.

  • jobriq5
    jobriq5 10 days ago

    There was a 150+ year old tree at my school that was there when the school was founded. It had to be cut down in 2012 after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy

  • G Unit
    G Unit 10 days ago +1

    Who dafak and why?!!!

  • Valerie Chaparro
    Valerie Chaparro 10 days ago

    If this isn't one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking videos on TVclip, I don't know what is.

  • Don't Stop Readin'
    Don't Stop Readin' 10 days ago

    I’m sad and hurt and inspired all at once

  • giraffecolor
    giraffecolor 10 days ago

    This is HEAVY

  • Sandy Sandy
    Sandy Sandy 10 days ago

    We did a very strange project once. A tree in a forest was burnt to ash. The it was survived only by 1 thick burnt branche. We hugged the trees for weeks and spoke to it. Apologised for the follies of idiots who were indoctrinated to destroy it, much like brain-washed terrorists.
    We did this ritual during the course of a summer. The tress re-grew. As beautiful as before. Not sure if it looked identical. I guess iy looked similar. Very similar. That was when we were little kids. Not diabolical adults.
    Maybe you could try it. You have nothing to lose.

  • Ila Uronen
    Ila Uronen 10 days ago

    Thank you for constantly bringing new perspectives, ideals and ways of understanding into my life. As somebody who never wants to stop learning and taking in new information, you are a wonderful being on all accounts :)

  • Helen McAllister
    Helen McAllister 10 days ago

    I have an old giant oak tree in front of my house I commune with daily.

  • Jess Pat
    Jess Pat 10 days ago

    When something I have loved and shared is gone, I often feel like I have been robbed of something thing I found or something I loved more than anyone ever could. At times this feeling can lead me to believe that I should not have shared my special something-a feeling of regret. But then I remember that I cannot and should not remove that special something that I have shared even if it were possible because to remove that something would be like the person who cut down that tree. Instead I become the robber, the thief. I become the source of sadness for more than just me, when all I wanted was the happiness that it once gave me.

  • Jessica Graves
    Jessica Graves 10 days ago


  • Amelia Lowry
    Amelia Lowry 10 days ago

    Why are you so obsessed with The Puppy Sized Elephant?

  • Sami
    Sami 11 days ago

    that was so beautiful-- sniff

  • The Laughing Panda
    The Laughing Panda 11 days ago

    That was an emotional journey. From the beginning I thought, "that tree's gone now isn't it," but as the video went on I started to hope that John was just sharing a beautiful project of a beautiful tree, even as it became more apparent by the tone of the video that my first instinct was right and the tree was no more. I thought, "there's no way they'd cut it down if there was a whole art exhibition and everything". But it sounds like this wasn't the city or the town, or even because the tree was dangerous or dying, just some hooligans who wanted to destroy something beautiful. So now in the span of 4 minutes I've fallen in love with a tree and had to come to terms with the fact that it's gone. Halfway through the video I was even having ridiculous thoughts about actually going to see the broccoli tree in person, if I were ever in Sweden. But at least I got to see it in photographs, and it's still on google streetview, at least for now. I can't tell if I'm better or worse of for learning about this tree that is already gone and having to go through this mini-heartbreak, but I know I'm better for John's words about the tree and about life, so I think that makes the little pain worthwhile.

  • florance333
    florance333 11 days ago

    This is why I'm a misanthrope. Humans are disgusting shits!

  • wizkida981015
    wizkida981015 11 days ago

    Was this Thoughts from Trees?

  • Aytac Kiran
    Aytac Kiran 11 days ago

    John, I know you heard this many times before, but I’m gonna say it anyway: You are a terrific writer and hell of a good soul. And you are a personal inspiration. Thanks.

  • damini manerikar
    damini manerikar 11 days ago

    Can this be a book ? please..

  • Lairy_ _Fights
    Lairy_ _Fights 11 days ago

    This made me cry

  • Jerrin Dany Koshy
    Jerrin Dany Koshy 11 days ago

    i'll plant a tree in the memory of this beautiful broccoli Tree take a picture and post it under the same name, it will inspire maybe hundreds or even more ppl to do so. Thus even though its lost forever something positive will comes out of this projects.

  • James 4theDoctor
    James 4theDoctor 11 days ago

    What a rollercoaster of emotion!

  • Corey Kinard
    Corey Kinard 11 days ago

    Death penalty for stupidity is the only way.

  • Rachel Barkenhagen
    Rachel Barkenhagen 11 days ago

    ...reddit is already seeking the 5000 year old tree, John. Why would you draw attention to it?