The tree with the largest trunk girth on earth.
The majestic Tree of Tule. Its incredible circumference leaves visitors in awe
El Árbol del Tule, located in the town of Santa María del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, is a magnificent cypress tree with an impressive circumference of over 42 meters (137.8 ft), equating to a diameter of 14.05 m (46.1 ft).
The height is more difficult to measure due to the very broad crown, but it is reported to be somewhere between 35 and 43 m (115–141 ft). The tree has been a source of wonder and fascination for both locals and tourists for many years, and it is considered to be one of the largest trees in the world.
While the tree’s incredible circumference secures its place in the record books, it’s twisted and knotty bark that sparks the imagination. Visitors have discovered resemblances of various creatures, such as human faces, lions, jaguars, elephants, and a myriad of other animals, etched into its bark.
The tree is a Montezuma cypress (named after an Aztec Empire ruler), a magnificent evergreen tree species which boasts of impressive, massive trunks, spiral leaves, and drooping branches.
These spectacular trees usually thrive near water, even improve its quality. Due to this and the fact that it provides shelter from the sun, the Tree of Tule provides a conducive habitat for a wild variety of wildlife, including birds and insects, which make their homes in its branches and bark, and for which it is occasionally nicknamed the “Tree of Life.”
The tree is home to a wealth of wildlife. Image credit: Liliana Saeb
The history of El Árbol del Tule is believed to date back between 1,000 and 3,000 years, and it is said to have been planted by the Zapotec civilization, one of the earliest known Mesoamerican cultures.
According to local legend, the tree was planted by a priest who used it as a symbol of the connection between the earthly and spiritual worlds.
The tree’s massive size led people to believe that it consisted of multiple trees, but DNA tests confirmed that it is a single individual.
This, however, does not rule out another theory, which suggests that it could be a single organism with multiple trunks.
Every year, locals gather around the tree to celebrate its history and significance. Despite its age and size, as well as the effects of human activity, El Árbol del Tule continues to thrive and inspire wonder in all who see it.
Its resilience and enduring beauty make it a true natural wonder and a testament to the power and majesty of the natural world.