24 August 2013

The Tule Tree - a natural monument in Oaxaca

The Tree of Tule (El Arbol del Tule) is in Oaxaca Mexico. A Montezuma cypress, Taxodium mucronatum or aheuhuete (Old man of the water) the Tule tree has the largest trunk in the world.

The water reference in its name refers to the fact that the area was swampland at one time.
In fact during periods of drought the townspeople have undertaken watering/irrigation projects to keep the tree alive and healthy.

The subterranean water that previously fed the Tule tree and the surrounding swamplands has been used by the population as an outcome of growth. Efforts are being made to protect the microbasins (http://www.nyu.edu/projects/julian/tule.html)

Our friend, Dr. Jerry Gustafson of Tulsa, OK, visited the tree with a group of friends and gave permission to share his personal photos from that trip.

The tree stands in a churchyard, dwarfing the church itself. At one time there was speculation that it was several trees that had grown together but DNA testing proved that it is one single tree.




Dr. Gustafson standing by the tree's trunk for perspective.

"The legendary Tule tree is located in the atrium of the Santa Maria de la Asuncion temple. Botanists have classified it as Taxodium mucionatum and believe it to be over 2,000 years old. It measures 135 feet in height, its perimeter is 139 feet (40 metres) in circumference and it is considered the biggest and oldest in the world."
 
Quite naturally and happily, there is a legend of the Tule Tree. You can read it at http://www.nyu.edu/projects/julian/legend.html
 
Have you visited the Tule Tree? I/we rarely have visited Mexico.
 
 
 
 


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