Money Doesn't Grow On Trees
Money Doesn't Grow On Trees...But Limbs Do.
How Long Have Trees Been Around?
Is it estimated that trees have been in existence for 370 million years. The oldest tree in the United States, Methuselah, is estimated to be 4,850 years old. Although, they believe there may be another Bristlecone Pine in the same area over 5,000 years old.
But they haven’t found any with money growing on them. Instead, trees bloom with flowers and bear fruit. Trees usually reproduce using seeds but some trees, such as conifers, instead have pollen cones and seed cones.
Is ‘Money Doesn't Grow On Trees’ Antiquated?
This expression means that money is not a resource that is not easily acquired. And I think we can all agree, this is still the case. Just think of the child who asks her mother for an expensive toy from the store. The lesson is learned at an early age when the mother who does not have money to spare, might state and explain to her child that 'money doesn't grow on trees.'
Where Does This Idiom Come From?
What do you get when you plant a tree, add water and sunshine, and wait some years? Well, a bigger tree, one that can possibly grow fruit depending on what kind it is. A peach tree, for example, once it has grown, will produce a certain amount of peaches annually. How does one collect the peaches that have ripened and are ready to be eaten? Well, it's simple, all you have to do is walk up to the tree and pick the fruit off its branches. It's easy to do, you can gather as many as you need, the fruit is free, and it tastes great too.
On the other hand, money is something that is not so easy to come by. If you run out, you can't simply take a trip to the tree in your backyard and gather cash from it, as if it were fruit. No, to earn money, one has to work hard at their job, and even when one has money, they have to be careful about where they spend it because it's a limited resource. Thus this phrase is used to remind people, especially kids, that money is a finite resource and is not easy to come by.
This phrase doesn't look like it is that old from what I can tell, as I can only find it emerging in writing near the end of the 19th century. For example, the Statesville Landmark newspaper from 1891, reads:
"Money doesn't grow on trees here yet."
This idiom became widely used more than 100 years ago, emerging in writings near the end of the 1800s. For example, the Statesville Landmark newspaper from 1891, reads “Money doesn't grow on trees here yet."
Or as quoted by some, perhaps, a little more famous:
“And they say money doesn't grow on trees...”
~ Oscar Wilde on The Dollar Tree
Is This Idiom Where Money Gets Its Color?
One might think so, but actually the new bills circulated by the U.S. government starting in the 1860s came to be known as greenbacks because their back sides were printed in green ink. This ink was an anti-counterfeiting measure used to prevent photographic knockoffs, since the cameras of the time could only take pictures in black and white.
So, Is The Dollar Tree A Myth?
Perhaps in the sense that one can pluck greenbacks from its branches but there are over 14,000 Dollar Tree stores in the United States and Canada which is chain of discount variety stores that sells items for $1 or less.