"Evdokia", Centuries-Old Olive Tree on Corfu, Acquires Date of Birth

The National Herald Archive

(Photo by ANA)

An imposing olive tree on Corfu dubbed "Evdokia" is between 1086 and 1200 years old, according to studies by German scientists from Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden).

The study was presented at an event in June at 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, where the tree is located, in 2014 to begin the process of dating with the aid of Louka, a town resident.

Professors Andreas Roloff and Stern Gillner found that the tree is around 1086 years old (+/- 10 yrs.) and 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 the only 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.

Schools, hotels and tourists on Corfu have expressed interest in visiting the tree, Konofaou said, while the owner of the plot of land where the tree grows has conceded the rights for the tree's promotion and exploitation the the HUH.