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Nature & Environment

5,000-year-old tree undergoes a sex change

By T.K. Randall
November 6, 2015 · Comment icon 15 comments

The tree has stood for thousands of years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Mogens Engelund
Something unusual seems to be happening to the famed Fortingall Yew - one of the oldest trees in Europe.
Located in Perthshire, Scotland, the ancient tree has long been considered to be male', meaning that it produces pollen unlike the 'female' variety which instead produces red berries.

In a strange twist however, botanists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh have reported that the tree has started to transition from one to the other having sprouted 'female' branches.

"It's a rare occurrence... rare and unusual and not fully understood," said botanist Max Coleman.
"It's thought that there's a shift in the balance of hormone-like compounds that will cause this sex-change. One of the things that might be triggering it is environmental stress."

Fortunately the tree, which is now so old that it might even predate the pyramids of Giza, does not appear to be suffering from any ill-effects and is otherwise still healthy despite its age.

Some of the seeds from the new female branches have since been collected and botanists are planning to plant them at the gardens to help "conserve the genetic diversity of yew trees."

Source: AOL News | Comments (15)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Silver Surfer 8 years ago
asif humans know what a 5000 year old tree might do. Its probably genderbendered many times.
Comment icon #7 Posted by MeOnlyMe 8 years ago
Its mental health should be evaluated first.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Finding Lance 8 years ago
Good thing they put up a fence someone could have just came by with a rune pick and it would have been game over
Comment icon #9 Posted by noppohn 8 years ago
it's just gay,the LGBT community should have a field day with this one, one could say, it's just a phase it's going through
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ealdwita 8 years ago
I wonder what toilets (Across The Pond....'restrooms'), it'll have to use.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Finding Lance 8 years ago
I meant to say rune hatchet not pick lol no use in mining a tree
Comment icon #12 Posted by Yamato 8 years ago
Other trees in the area weren't immediately available for comment, but some of them appeared to be deeply offended by the transsexual sharing their forest.
Comment icon #13 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
A tree changing genders? What will yew think of next.
Comment icon #14 Posted by acute 8 years ago
I normally associate sexual experimentation with youth not old age. I think we should cut this tree down and count the rings.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Sundew 8 years ago
Yew? Are you sure it's not a Bruce Spruce?

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