A tree in Powys, Wales, could be the oldest living tree in Britain, thanks to recent analysis dating it to before the time of Christ as far back to the age of ancient pharaohs in Egypt.
The yew tree resides in St. Cynog’s churchyard, and thought it’s not tall, its branches are sprawling.
— Irish Archaeology (@irarchaeology) July 9, 2014
“It is so old that it has split into two halves, one 40-feet wide and the other 20-feet wide. It’s DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch, which makes it over 5,000 years old,” Janis Fry, an expert who has written a book on ancient trees, said, according to ITV News.
“I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe. It was planted on the north side of the ancient burial mound which is now the churchyard, probably in honor of a neolithic chieftain,” she speculated.
Clive Aslet for the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph though pointed out that dating of ancient trees is “notoriously tricky,” due to various factors, including trees rotting from the center and the possibility of portions of the original tree, which could have disappeared, stemming off and being interpreted as the original tree.
Yew trees, which are common around Europe, are evergreen trees that sprout red, poisonous berries, which Aslet noted led some in early cultures to consider it as sacred or having mythical properties.
If the tree at St. Cynog’s is in fact more than 5,000 years old, it would be among one of the oldest trees still living in the world.
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