Sunday, June 4, 2023

Two APNs find a grove of exceptional value in Ordesa

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park never ceases to amaze. Despite being a protected place much studied by visitors (600,000 tourists per year) and scientists (it is the second place in Spain where more research is funded), there are always secrets to be uncovered.

The last site has been the site of a unique grove of monumental yew trees whose existence was not known. Discoveries have been documented in Enniscoln Canyon. Nature’s two agents of conservation (APN) From the park, Carlos Benede and Jorge Gracia.

Taxus baccata is a revered tree, considered by the scientific world to be the longest living in Europe. Its wood is highly prized, meaning there are few specimens remaining, confined to remote locations. It also attracts attention for its high toxicity.

“Certainly the old inhabitants of the Vio Valley knew them but their memory has almost completely disappeared and in the park we did not know of their existence”, says Carlos Benede, because “In the most remote, secret and inaccessible places of forests and mountains Trees and groves of exceptional value may still be found.”

it was just a while ago He visualized a tree through binoculars, which looked like a yew. “Because of the color and type of foliage in the crown, it seemed to me, but it was in an area that was hard to reach,” he says. Last summer he went to the grove and found that there were several in that area and thought of going back later to check their size and number of specimens.

He has recently returned with his partner Jorge Gracia. “We have documented them, geolocated and measured them,” he explains. The grove is composed of a dozen specimens, the largest with a circumference of 6 m and a height of 13, although its morphology makes measurement difficult. Their age cannot be determined without careful examination, but does not deny that it may be the millennium, Because yes they are very long lived.

“This species, called “taxo” in Sobrarbe, has always been a revered and sacred tree in various cultures, due to its extraordinary usefulness, properties, strength and longevity, as it has been used for hundreds and even thousands of years. May survive.”, calculates APN. “Historically, its wood has been highly prized for its resistance to moisture, and that is why it is largely exterminated and there are only a few left in Spain. They have been confined to isolated and almost inaccessible sites.”

Two park employees are preparing a report to propose that they become part of the list of Singular Trees and Groves of Aragon, “because they are extraordinary,” he says. It already belongs to this catalog other in the national park yes and in nearby municipalities, such as Tejo de la Mirona (Enniscalo Canyon), Taxos de Crepera (Bujaruelo Valley) or Taxra de Fablo (Pena Cancías). The latter were located last year.

The yew, taco, taxo or teax (Taxus baccata) is considered one of the longest-living trees, although it is not spectacular in height: it does not generally exceed 15 m, and its crown is due to the existence of conic. A large number of branches are growing in all directions.

One of the most striking aspects of yew is its high toxicity. All its parts are highly toxic except the fruit. The root, stem, bark, seed, flower or branches contain an alkaloid called ‘taxin’. The use of its leaves and seeds for poisoning has been known since ancient times, as it is said that Celtic tribes preferred to commit suicide by eating something rather than surrender to the enemy.

Yew is also known and, in this case highly prized, for its hard crimson-colored wood, and for its difficulty in rotting when exposed to water.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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