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This Ukrainian 220-Year-Old Apple Tree Has a Very Unique Way of Staying Alive

The city of Krolevets, in Ukraine’s Sumy region, is home to the world’s most unique apple garden, consisting of only one tree. Spanning 10 acres, the 220-year-old tree – known as ‘apple tree colony’ – has dozens of individually rooted trunks that constantly spring to life, making it seemingly impossible to die.

The tree seems to have worked out a brilliant survival strategy, and it looks prepared to survive for centuries to come. It started off as a regular tree, but as it aged, its branches bent so low to the ground that they started to take root as well. Every time one of the ingrown trunks dies, its branches immediately bend to the ground and take root. It had only nine trunks in 1970, but that number had doubled by 2008.

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Photo: Stejka

Today, the tree-garden has several main trunks and dozens of rooted branches springing from each of them. It blooms every year, during the regular season, but its pink flowers are only visible on half the tree, while the other half rests. Its apples – locally known as Lozovka – are medium-sized and sweet with a slightly tart taste.

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Photo: Kolokray

Local legend has it that the tree was planted by Prince Peter Sergeev of the Meshchersky royal family. When he died, the tree mourned for him and its branches bent to the ground, eventually giving rise to an apple tree colony. The prince was buried under his beloved tree in 1848, and his gravestone is still visible today. Another version of the story says that the prince planted an apple tree on the grave of his wife who died when she was still young.

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Photo: Sergey Starostenko

Some say that the tree was cursed, which is why it behaves more like a gooseberry bush than an apple tree. Several scientists have studied the tree in detail, but every attempt to recreate it’s survival mechanism has failed. In 1972, the tree was declared a national monument of local importance by the Sumy Regional Council. In 1998, its status was upgraded to national importance.

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Photo: Kolokray

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Photo: Sergey Starostenko

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Photo: Sergey Starostenko

 

Sources: Gazeta.ua, Ukrinform, Ukrainian Internet Portal

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