European Trees With The Most Interesting Stories


The Environmental Partnership Association (EPA) is seeking votes from the public to help them select the winner of the European Tree of the Year competition 2019. Each year participating countries select an entrant by holding a national poll, from which a winner is selected in the European round by an online poll that runs throughout the month of February. The winner is announced at an awards ceremony in late March held in the EU Parliament, Brussels.

The competition has been running since 2011, and was inspired by a similar competition organized in the Czech Republic for several years by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation.

A total of 15 trees from several countries are participating in this year's competition. Let's take a look at these trees and the extraordinary stories behind them.

Gubek Linden, Croatia
This ancient linden is a living witness to the great peasant revolt of 1573. According to legend Matija Gubek gathered his followers under its umbrella and led them in the fight for their class rights. Due to its age and historical importance the linden was declared a protected natural monument.

Lime tree of Liberty, Czech Republic
When Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, people in Velké Optovice planted 16 Lime Trees of Liberty: symbols of freedom, democracy, and the end of World War I. One of them was a lemon tree in Zadvory. It was planted by Jan Pospisil, a local patriot and pacifist, after he returned home from the First World War. Only his tree has survived till today in the middle of the intersection of five streets. At the end of World War II both the German and Red Armies marched around the lemon and the lime became a symbol of Czech independence and resilience.

Raudoyne Castle Lime, Lithuania
This small-leafed lemon grows near the castle of Roudonne. There is a metal rod between its two stems at a height of about 3 meters. According to legend, seven slaves were tied to sticks and beaten to death, and thus the lemon was painfully split into seven stems. The stem of the lemon divides into many branches which divide into two or more parts. The branches are like the hands of victims, reaching a height of 30 meters.

Pet-Oak, Breda, Netherlands
When the highway A58 was built in 1986, many oak trees on the Anneville estate had to be cut down. This oak, in the center reservation, was the only one left standing. Close to the Belgian border, it became a milestone for many drivers on their journey.

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