Ancient European tree is changing its sex

Ancient European Tree Changes Sex

A tree in Scotland that is believed to be one of the oldest in Europe has undergone a sex change in one section.

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is reporting that the famed Fortingall Yew, which is possibly up to 5,000 years old, has sprouted a female branch in the outer crown despite being otherwise male in gender.

A staff member, Dr. Max Coleman, explains, "Yew trees are male or female usually and it is pretty easy to spot which is which in autumn – males have tiny things that produce pollen and females have bright red berries from autumn into winter."

Despite previous known accounts of gender changes, they are still considered rare, which is why Coleman was surprised to find berries growing on the Fortingall Yew last month.

Seeds have been taken from this section, and conservationists plan to include them in a project around the garden.

The famous tree remains in public view but is not accessible; in 1842, it was gated off with railings as a measure of protection from people who were removing parts as souvenirs.

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Ancient European tree is changing its sex
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