How massive do you think a tree can get? Of course, you have seen many giant trees with glorious branches and thick trunks. But what if I tell you there is a tree with a crown almost the size of two tennis courts?
It is unbelievable and even wild to think about. But there is one that exists.
Tree El Arbol Del Tule is a cypress tree which is located in the town of Santa Maria del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is blessed with the most enormous trunk in the world. The height is said to be somewhere between 35-43 meters. Its circumference is over 42 meters, equating to a diameter of 14.05 meters. The tree has always been a sight of wonder for tourists and foreigners.
Though the tree is known for its vast circumference that holds records, it has also managed to amaze the viewers with its outer appearance. The long branches of the tree are incredibly twisted in various directions. Somehow viewers managed to come up with creative imaginations and different animal names as they looked at them from afar. And that’s precisely how it was. Some branches literally created resemblances of living creatures such as human faces, Jaguars, lions, elephants, and myriad other animals. They were etched into the bark creatively.
The huge tree has its own set of impressive features that gives off both mysterious and sacred vibes to it. This Montezuma Cypress ( named after an Aztec Empire ruler), a species overflowing with greenery, had massive trunks, spiral leaves, and drooping branches.
This marvelous creation of god likes to grow near water and usually improves its quality. However, being the tree with the most immense trunk girth on earth isn’t the only thing it is worth. It has always been the home for many wild creatures. Because the tree of tule thrives near water and provides shelter from the sun, the tree manages to give conducive habitat to various animals. It includes birds and a variety of insects. Due to this, the tree is occasionally nicknamed the ‘Tree of Life,’ which was the truth.
Now shall we look into the history of El Arbol Del Tule? As of the belief, the tree dates back between 1000 and 3000 years and was said to be planted by the Zapotec civilization. Zapotec civilization was one of the earliest Mesoamerican cultures. But what locals believe is a little different from it. According to local legend, a tule tree was planted by a priest who used it to symbolize the connection between the earthly and spiritual worlds. Thus this proves that the tree also has its sacred values to be told.
Such a colossal appearance must have been very complex even to think about. Not just that, but also, if some say it’s unbelievable, you can not blame them. Can you? For a fact, it was like that earlier. People thought the massive size of the tree was due to the consisting of many trees. But it turned out as false as DNA tests confirmed the tree is a single individual. However, it did not create another theory suggesting it could be a single organism with multiple trunks.
El Arbol Del Tule has survived many difficulties over the years as it has a life of centuries. It is usual for trees to face natural disasters and disasters caused by human activities. According to reports from 1990, the tree begins to wither away as its roots are ruined. The destruction of roots is caused by water scarcity, pollution, and heavy traffic from a nearby highway, where around 8000 cars pass by.
The situation is unfortunate that humans also take part in destroying such a valuable tree which is the home of the wild and a treasure for the world. Scientists fear that the tree might be dying as we speak because of the effects of industrialization. But the local spiritual leaders hold another thought, according to them. They firmly believe that the tree can survive independently as it did for centuries facing numerous difficulties.
Furthermore, in the 29th century, the Mexican government named El Arbol Del Tule a protected natural monument. Then lots of visitors worldwide came in heaps to admire the tree’s unbelievable size and breathtaking beauty.
And for the hometown of the tree, Santa Maria Del Tule, the tree was much more than a place of attraction. For them, it was their symbol of heritage and culture. The tree is featured on the town’s coat of arms and is the centerpiece of the city’s annual festival every October. During the festival, the tree gets its best treatments ever. The locals gather around the tree and celebrate its history and significance by dancing, singing, and including traditional food.
Though the tree of Del Tule faced many hardships throughout the years, it always managed to thrive beautifully and majestically as a fascinating giant in the natural world. Let us hope the three will survive the difficulties it has to face from now on so our next generations can also witness this one-of-a-kind creation by nature.