An imposing olive tree on Corfu, known as ‘Evdokia’ by local residents, is estimated to be between 1086 and 1200 years old, according to recent studies by German scientists from the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden).
The study was presented at an event held in June on Corfu, spearheaded by the efforts of biologist Eleni Louka and Eleni Konofaou, founder of the Hellenic Union of Heptanesians (HUH) – a name referring to the hepta, or seven, main islands in the Ionian Sea.
Konofaou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that the islanders decided to contact dendrochronology specialists at TU Dresden’s Institute of Forest Botany and Forest Zoology independently, after a series of failed attempts to attract the interest of academics and government officials in Athens.
Scientists from Dresden first arrived in the town of Strongyli in 2014, where the tree is located, and began the examination process, with Louka’s help, who is a resident of the town.
Professors Andreas Roloff and Stern Gillner determined that the tree is around 1086 years old (+/- 10 yrs). They believe it was planted sometime around 928 AD, prior to the island’s successive occupations by Saracens, Normans and Venetians.
“Their study proved that the centuries-old olive tree is 1200 years old, with a margin of error of 10 percent,” Konofaou explained to AMNA.
The tree is one of three especially enormous olive trees on Corfu and part of the Heptanesians Union’s efforts to promote all three areas in which they are located as alternative tourist destinations.
Evdokia is considered one of the ten largest and oldest living trees in all of Europe.
Konofaou said that schools and tourists on Corfu have expressed interest in visiting the tree, while the owner of the parcel of land where the tree is located has conceded the rights for the tree’s promotion and exploitation by members of the HUH.