Great Britain

One of Britain’s oldest trees has changed sex — after 3,000 years

ONE of Britain’s oldest trees has changed sex — after 3,000 years.

The ancient 55ft yew has switched from male to female, with some experts blaming it on stress.

For three millennia, the tree had been producing small cones, a sign of being a male.

But one of its many visitors recently noticed it had begun growing bright red berries — indicating it is now female.

Woodland Trust spokeswoman Ruby Harrison said the switch “could be a response to stress or a change in environment”.

She said there had been similar occurrences around Europe.


But she added: “It’s lovely to see it on our ancient yews, though, because it reminds us that they are survivors. Even though they’re old, they’re absolutely still living, sensing and responding, and able to reproduce.”

The tree is one of several historic yews around St Meugan’s church near Brecon, mid-Wales.

Churchwarden Simon Baldwin, 66, said: “There are a lot of people who are interested and come and see the trees, which are quite magnificent.

“I’m aware of the phenomenon, that they change sex.”

Europe’s oldest yew tree — a 5,000-year-old male in Perthshire, Scotland — began producing berries in 2015.

Ms Harrison said there was also a seven-metre-girth yew in 1837 which had one female branch on an otherwise male tree.

She added: “Another report from Germany reported male and female structures irregularly over the tree, each on separate twigs.”

But it is not just the yew which switches gender in the plant world. In 1980 the phenomenon was observed in more than 50 different species, she said.

Footage shows moment huge tree is bought crashing down by high winds narrowly missing shocked passer-by and cars

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL

Football news:

Alaba is almost real. It seems that instead of Ramos: Sergio will not be able to replace directly, but will affect the team through a change in style
Alaba's father on Real Madrid: The contract has not been signed, the decision has not yet been made. There are other clubs
Alaba has not yet agreed with Real Madrid. The player is in talks with Barca, City, Manchester United and PSG
I'm the girl who lost her mother. The Athletic forward received a touching letter after the winning goal in the Super Bowl
Atletico want to extend Simeone's contract until 2024. The coach is ready to reduce the salary due to the crisis
Liverpool and PSG offered contracts to Alaba, but the player chose Real Madrid. He dreamed of playing for Madrid
I believe in Zlatan. Ibrahimovic asked about Milan's chances of winning the Scudetto