Turkey’s 4,115-year-old tree dates to Bronze Age

Yew tree (Taxus baccata) found in Zonguldak and dated to the Bronze Age.

The yew tree (Taxus baccata) found in Zonguldak (Arkeofili)

ANTALYA: A 4,115-year-old yew tree, the oldest in Turkey, has been around since the Bronze Age and is sturdy enough to live for another four millennia, the Environment and Urbanization Ministry has said.

“The age of the oldest tree has been detected by experts in the Karadeniz Technical University. It is 23 meters high,” the ministry said about the tree standing strong in the northern province of Zonguldak.

According to a 2016 article published by Arkeofili, Ercan Oktan from Karadeniz Technical University’s Faculty of Forestry and Murat Yıldız from Anturia Consulting determined the tree age after examining its rings in a laboratory.

The research also showed that yew trees could live for around four millennia if not disturbed by humans.

The yew was found by Zonguldak Provincial Director of Nature Conservation and National Parks Sezgin Örmeci, who said locals informed of the plant, prompting examinations.

According to the Environment and Urbanization Ministry, 9,369 monumental trees are registered in Turkey.

Data on the anitlaragac.gov.tr shows that an abies in the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane is the Turkey’s highest with 55 meter and an Oriental plane, in the northern province of Kastamonu, is the widest with a diameter of 8.8 meters, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Turkey's oldest tree was discovered in 2016

Turkey’s oldest tree was discovered in 2016. Its age was determined after its rings were examined  in a laboratory (Arkeofili)

According to the website, there are four trees older than 2,000 years and 22 trees with an age above a millennium.

The second oldest tree, a 2,327-year-old cedrus libani, is in the Kumluca district of the southern province of Antalya while an Oriental plane in the eastern province of Kahramanmaraş is the third oldest tree with an age of 2,280 years.

A juniper in the Central Anatolian province of Konya and an Oriental plane in the Aegean province of Kütahya are next on the list with an age of 2,001 years.

On the list of the highest trees and following the abies in Gümüşhane, two Oriental planes in the southeastern province of Adıyaman and an Oriental plane in the Black Sea province of Amasya come second with 40 meters.

“The widest tree, with an 8.8-meter diameter in Kastamonu province, is 801 years old. A 426-year-old Oriental plane in Adıyaman follows it with a diameter of 8.6 meters. An Oriental plane in Kahramanmaraş is the third with a diameter of 7.6 meters,” the ministry said.

Turkey has around 50 types of monumental trees, the ministry said.  “Monumental trees are natural beauties that are bridges from the past to the future. Protecting these trees improves the bond to the roots in the youth and the love for the nature. It is very important to detect these monumental trees and keep them registered.”

According to the website, “Oriental planes, arceuthos drupaceas, cedrus libanis, walnut trees, gumwoods, Canary Island date palms, turpentine trees, northern hackberries, pines and oaks are common in the list of the monumental trees.

The ministry warned that the trees are classified as natural assets and are protected by law.

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