Greece has always surprised visitors, travelers and the entire world with its beauties: pleasant weather, breathtaking views, delicious food, delightful music and rich history. Among the ancient columns and the tall cypress, another possible touristic attraction has been revealed: the oldest tree in Europe.
The oldest living tree in Europe is a Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) and it has been found in Northern Greece, in the Pindos mountains. Researchers believe it is at least 1,075 years old, which is more than a millennium. There may be at least other twelve of its kind, of a similar age. The only explanation that the specialists can come up with on why has the tree survived for so long is that the forest hasn’t been discovered by people so far, or, at least, they didn’t exploit it.
Although the scientific name of the Bosnian pine is Pinus heldreichii, researchers thought of giving it a nickname, since it is so special. Its’ name is Adonis – like the mythical Greek figure associated with physical beauty and strength.
The team has been on an incredible expedition, led by specialist Paul J Krusic. The team members were both Swedish and American, as the expedition was part of a partnership between universities (Stockholm University, the University of Mainz and the University of Arizona). The expedition leader commented on how they determined the age of the mighty tree:
“To age the tree, we needed to take a core of wood, from the outside to the centre. The core is one meter and has 1,075 annual rings.”
The discovery is important because function of the analyses that the researchers make on the samples, they can determine key elements about climate and vegetation over the past centuries.
Beside the merely scientific importance, researchers are also surprised and in awe at the thought of the events that Adonis, the oldest tree in Europe, must have witnessed. The moment the Vikings set foot on the Black Sea shores, the invasions of the Ottoman Empire, World War I, World War II are just a few of Adonis’ memories.
Adonis, aged 1, 075 is the oldest living tree in Europe, but it is not the oldest living tree in the world. This label is reserved for a bristlecone pine in Californian woods, and it is more than five millenniums old.
The discovery was made public on Friday, August 19.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia