Mexico IN PICTURES: The Ahuehuete Tree


close up of trunk of huge cypress tree

canopy of huge cypress tree in mexico

trunk of giant cypress tree in town square

All photographs © Ian Martin

This remarkable series of photographs show the huge Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) that sits in the town square of Santa Maria del Tule in Oaxaca, Mexico.

It seems oblivious, and undisturbed, by the urbanisation that has built up around it during its long and distinguished life and although its age is unknown local records estimate it to be at least 1,200 years old with an upper, and perhaps over-optimistic, maximum of 6,000 years.

Despite heavy buttressing on the trunk it remains the world's stoutest tree, with a diameter of over 35 m, and not surprisingly it remains an enduring sacred tree of myth and local folklore. Local legend has it that it was planted 1,400 years ago by the wind god, Ehecatl.

In 2001 it was placed on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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