Olivastri Millenari - one of the oldest trees on the planet (9 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
22 May 2024

This olive tree is estimated to be 3,800 years old. And it is one of the oldest on earth.

The oldest scientifically proven tree in Europe is a pine tree in a popular national park in southern Italy: it is more than 1,230 years old. Although an olive tree in a remote corner of Sardinia has not yet been studied accurately enough to claim the title of the oldest, it is likely three times older.

The Patriarca Verde or “Green Patriarch”, 14 meters high and with a trunk girth of 1154 centimeters, is estimated to be 3800 years old, making it one of the oldest trees not only in Europe, but also in the world. The green giant is located in the municipality of Luras in the province of Sassari in Sardinia.

Locals call it S'Ozzastru, which translates to "wisdom of old age" in Sardinian dialect. The green giant (female tree) is fenced off so that particularly active tourists do not show themselves by riding on the branches.

S'Ozzastru is adjacent to a younger male wild olive tree (only 2,500 years old), under whose canopy visitors can rest in the shade and touch the thick, twisting branches.

Although olive trees were first domesticated between 6 and 8 thousand years ago in the eastern Mediterranean, they are wild olive trees. They are distinguished by stronger trunks, wider leaves and olives that are smaller in size and less juicy. Although the ancient trees produce olives that ripen in late summer, visitors are not advised to pick them.

These two trees, which are older than Christ, have been preserved even though local loggers have destroyed much of the surrounding forests.

Traces of flame on their trunks may indicate that their gigantic dense canopies could serve as a shelter for shepherds who waited out bad weather under the shade of the trees and stayed here for the night.

The giants are located on the territory of the Church of Santo Baltolu. And a significant proportion of parishioners and pilgrims come here for a specific purpose - to worship this particular tree. Last year, the olive won the Italian Tree 2023 competition and will represent Italy in the European Tree 2024 category.

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