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Modern expert estimates put the age of the tree at between 2,000 and 3,000 years, although it may be a remnant of a post-Roman Christian site and around 1,500 years old. Others have suggested an age as great as 5,000 years, although recent research into yew tree ages suggests that it is likely to be nearer the lower limit of 2,000 years. This still makes it one of the oldest known trees in Europe, although the root system of the Norway spruce Old Tjikko in Sweden is at least 9,500 years old. The Fortingall Yew is possibly the oldest tree in Britain.
Located in Perthshire, Scotland, the ancient tree has long been considered to be male', meaning that it produces pollen unlike the 'female' variety which instead produces red berries.
In a strange twist however, botanists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh have reported that the tree has started to transition from one to the other having sprouted 'female' branches.
"It's a rare occurrence... rare and unusual and not fully understood," said botanist Max Coleman.
"It's thought that there's a shift in the balance of hormone-like compounds that will cause this sex-change. One of the things that might be triggering it is environmental stress."
originally posted by: theantediluvian"It's thought that there's a shift in the balance of hormone-like compounds that will cause this sex-change. One of the things that might be triggering it is environmental stress."[/url].
originally posted by: tinner07
So I wonder if it knows it is nearing the end of its life and is doing this as a way to reproduce?
originally posted by: jimmyx
don't let the Christian evangelicals know about this tree, they will be out with their chainsaws attempting a "tree lifestyle change"