Britain’s Oldest Tree Undergoing Sex Change

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sex Changing Tree

In a rare phenomenon, Britain’s oldest tree, The Fortingall Yew – a 5,000 year old tree, has begun changing its gender. Researchers state that a part of the male tree is turning into female.

The Fortingall Yew in Central Scotland’s Perthshire has for years been producing pollen unlike female Yews which produce distinctive seeds bearing red berries. This year, much to the surprise of botanists, the tree produced three red berries on its branch which indicated that a part of the male tree is becoming female.

Yews are either male or female and determining their sex during autumn and winter becomes easy. Male yews have small spherical structures that release clouds of pollen when they mature whereas females hold bright red berries between autumn and winter. The appearance of three berries on The Fortingall Yew is extraordinary, something that hasn’t been witnessed before. 

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