The yew, which is a dark, enigmatic and twisted tree of a legend, is looming over the churchyards around Europe. The yew tree is a ubiquitous sight, particularly in the U.K.; still, several people know how old some of these incredible beings are.
Considered the oldest of all trees in Europe, this tree which can be found in the yard of the church St. Cynog’s in Powys, Wales, is about 5,000 or more years old.
There are actually more than 250 such trees across the U.K. which are classified “ancient,” and which means that they were growing for more than 900 years.
The yew tree is notoriously hard to date precisely, so that in 2014, this one which is located at the St. Cynog’s has been the subject of various tests, which included ring counting and DNA analysis.
One expert in the field of tree aging, named Janis Fry, is confident about the fact that this tree is actually the oldest and non-clonal one in Europe. The tests, which were conducted by the Forestry Institute, also concluded that this tree had a ring count of 120 per inch, making it 5,000 or more years old.
According to some official records, the oldest tree in this world is the bristlecone pine which can be found across southern California and which was precisely dated to about 5,068 years old.
But, it is really hard to accurately date the yew trees, while the number of candidates is large, including the yew in the churchyard of St. Cynog’s, which can rival the ancient being.
However, 5 years ago, it was believed that the Fortingall Yew, which is found in Perthshire, in Scotland, roughly dates between 3,000 and 5,000 years. But, according to other sources, the one in St. Cynog’s is even older.
The difficulties in dating these particular trees appear as while it grows older, the yew’s central trunk usually splits in two or a few main stems, in that way preventing precise dating with the use of heartwood rings.
Well, this is actually the thing with these two trees, as both of them have their trunks fractured. Nonetheless, they are also in great health, giving them the ability to live for more centuries in the future.
Additionally to their decayed and broken appearance, the ancient yews in the U.K. bear history’s mark. There was a cannonball discovered inside of Crowhurst Yew’s trunk in Surrey, in England, believed to be lodged there during the English Civil War from 1642, to 1651.
However, if St. Cynog Yew’s dating is actually correct, it was probably something more than the sapling during the Stonehenge’s construction and being just centuries old, right when The Great Pyramid of Giza has been constructed in the desert. When the Romans stepped in Britain, this tree was thousands of years old.
The yew tree may be found in some churchyards around the U.K., partially as of its ancient mythological importance. This tree carries strong connections with resurrection and death and usually features in Greek and Celtic traditions as the symbol of regeneration and decay.
This is probably as a result of its evergreen foliage or their long lives, additionally to the perceived regenerative abilities. This tree appears to suffer huge decay and damage, splitting open at their trunk; still, they keep thriving.
Even before Christianity appeared, the yew tree was planted in some spiritually important locations and utilized as the part of certain pagan rituals, usually including sacrifice and death.
Later on, ancient traditions which surrounded these trees became merged with the Christian practice, so they have been incorporated in Easter and Lenten celebrations, being the symbol of the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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