Huatulco Life was inspired by people with a passion for Huatulco and the Mexican lifestyle. It is a place to find out more information about the region and enjoy the beauty of the Oaxacan coastline through the photo gallery. From time to time, other interesting tidbits about Mexico make their way into the pages of this blog. Enjoy!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Mexico's National Tree

Located about five miles outside the city of Oaxaca is the town of Tule.  Here, you will find the national tree of Mexico, and the largest one at that.

The “Tule Tree”,  is an especially large Montezuma cypress near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. This tree has the largest trunk girth at 58 m and trunk diameter at 11.3 m, and is 40m tall.  It stands as one of the most magnificent trees of the world.

For many years, detractors argued that it was actually three trees combined to form one larger tree  – however, careful DNA analysis confirmed that it is indeed one massive tree.

The tree is said to be between 2000-3000 years old and has the largest girth of any tree on the planet.  At the time that Monte Alban was a flourishing centre, "The Tule" was a mere sapling.  The tree is still growing strong and has a projected weight of 660 tons.

In 1994, the tree was showing some worrying signs of dying.  The leaves were sickly yellow and there were dead branches everywhere. When experts were called in, they diagnosed the problem as dying of thirst. The prescription? Give it water. Sure enough, the tree soon recovered after a careful watering program was followed.

According to Mixtec myth, people originated from cypress trees and so it came that these trees were sacred and celebrated.  This particular tree was the site of a ritual which included the sacrifice of a dove and was realized for the last time in 1834.  According to Mixtec myth, the origin of this particular tree is the walking stick of a god or a king by the name of Conday, who stuck his walking stick, supposedly weighting 62 kilos, into the ground on which he rested.  From this day forward, the tree began to grow.   Due to the gnarled branches, local legends relate to what seems to be forms of animals and other shapes growing in the tree.

The local residents of the area celebrate this tree each year on October 7th.

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