The oldest tree in the world is a bristlecone pine growing in the White Mountains in California, estimated to be over 4,600 years old. Another bristlecone pine tree nearby was discovered to be 5,100 years old when it was killed by a graduate student who cut it down as part of his research project!
The rarest tree in the world is the Wallemi pine which only grows in a tiny area made up of two small groves of mature trees and seedlings found in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. Discovered and named in 1994, these Woodlands have survived in a secluded valley for millions of years. They are protected by the Australian government, and a specimen is now growing in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin Dublin.
Ash is one of our most widely planted broadleaves. It has been used for centuries for making hurleys. One hectare of ash woodland can produce 3800 hurleys.
The oak tree was a symbol of strength and fertility and is considered to be the
King of trees.
The tallest tree in Ireland is a
Douglas fir at the Powerscourt Estate in Co. Wicklow -
56 metres in height!
The tallest tree in the world is a coast redwood in California. At 112 metres in height, it is almost as tall as the Spire in Dublin which is 120 metres high.
Trees are an important food source. We have apples, cherries, damsons, pears, plums, sloes and nuts available here but globally think of avocado, bananas, oranges, lemons, mangos peaches and many more. And where would we be without tea coffee and coconut trees?
The hawthorn is the fairy tree. It is extremely unlucky to cut down a lone hawthorn as the fairies will have their revenge.
A yew tree in Co. Wexford along with the Brian Boru Oak in Co. Clare are said to be 1,000 years old.
Clogs for the feet are made from the wood of the alder tree. Alder timber was originally used in the building of bridges across the canals in Venice because it is able to withstand the damp. Vessels used for holding milk were also made from alder.
Larch is a conifer grown in Ireland that sheds all its leaves or needles in the winter making it a deciduous conifer.
The Tree of Knowledge!
While most timber can float in water, Ebony wood, used for making black piano keys, will sink.
We can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings in a cross-section of a tree. Each ring represents one year’s growth. The rings reveal other aspects of the tree’s life as well. Wide rings mark years of good growth, with lots of mild and wet weather. Meanwhile, narrow rings tell us of cold years when growing conditions were poor, or when the tree was overshadowed by surrounding trees, and therefore unable to make food from sunlight.
The largest tree in the world is a giant Sequoia, found in the Sequoia National Park in California. It is only 83 metres tall but its volume is estimated at 1490 cubic metres making it a huge tree.
The rowan or mountain ash is a lucky tree. It was said that it will keep away witches if planted near a house, or will keep the dead from rising if planted on a grave.
Holly planted near the house protects it from lightning. The fairies like it too and you can annoy them if you misuse holly by, for instance sweeping the chimney with it
The birch tree was traditionally used to make babies’ cradles. It was very good at protecting babies from the fairies who might want to steal them.
Juniper is a native Irish evergreen. Its berries are used to flavour gin....
The Arbutus or Strawberry tree is an evergreen tree that has flowers and fruit on it at the same time.
Co. Mayo is called after the Yew Tree - Maigh Eo. Bows were made from branches of yew up to the sixteenth century.