Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fortingall Yew
The Fortingall Yew is an ancient yew (Taxus baccata) in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland. Various estimates have put its age at between 2000 and 5000 years; recent research into yew tree ages (Harte 1996, Kinmonth 2006) suggests that it is likely to be nearer the lower limit of 2,000 years. This still makes it the oldest tree in Europe.
The yew is nothing spectacular to look at — it is of no great height, and its once massive trunk (16 metres, or 52 feet in girth in 1769, of unknown original height) is split into a number of separate stems, giving the impression of several smallish trees. This is a result of the cutting out of pieces of its wood as tourist trinkets in the nineteenth century and the natural decay of the ancient heartwood, which has reduced the centre of the trunk down to ground level. Other than this the tree is still in good health and may last for many centuries yet. It is now protected by a low wall, but can still be easily viewed.

No comments: