An imposing olive tree on Corfu, known as ‘Evdokia’ by the locals, has been estimated to be between 1086 and 1200 years old, according to studies by German scientists from the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden).
The study was presented at an event in June on Corfu, spearheaded by the efforts of Eleni Konofaou, founder of the Hellenic Union of Heptanesians (HUH) – a name referring to the hepta, or seven, main islands in the Ionian Sea – and biologist Eleni Louka.
Konofaou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) 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 town resident.
Professors Andreas Roloff and Stern Gillner found 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 pct,” Konofaou explained to ANA.
The tree is one of three large olive trees on Corfu and part of the Heptanesians Union’s efforts to promote all three as an alternative tourist destination.
Evdokia is considered one of the ten largest and oldest living trees in Europe.
Konofaou said that schools, tourists, and hotels on Corfu have expressed interest in visiting the tree, while the owner of the plot of land where the tree is located has conceded the rights for the tree’s promotion and exploitation by members of the HUH.