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Fragmentation Creating 2 Trees

Fragmented Yew in Churchyards The Process of Fragmentation Fragmentation Creating 2 Trees
Interpretation of Irregular Fragments Yews on Mounds Conclusion

Fragmentation creating 2 trees

There are many examples of yews whose two fragments are sufficiently well developed to be regarded as two trees. It could be argued that the ability to create two or more trees from one is another of the yew’s many survival mechanisms. Sometimes the two trees created grow at a similar rate and present an almost symmetrical appearance. The 27ft girthed Stalisfield Yew in Kent offers a good example of this and the cross section included provides evidence that these have developed from a single hollow yew.

The Stalisfield Yew © Tim Hills The Stalisfield Yew cross-section © Tim Hills
The Stalisfield Yew with cross-section © Tim Hills

This yew at Molash consists of two fragments with a combined girth of about 27ft, while the individual trunks girth 15ft and 17ft.

Yew at Molash © Tim Hills
Yew at Molash © Tim Hills

There are also instances where one fragment fails. At Overton-on-Dee, where the many yews in its churchyard have earned it the title of one of the “Seven Wonders of Wales”, the oldest yew has its living fragment propped, while the smaller fragment on the left of the photograph is dead. Protective railings have since been placed around the tree.  

Overton’s largest yew © Tim Hills
Overton’s largest yew © Tim Hills

At each of the next two sites can be found more than one ancient yew  - in both cases it is the largest girthed tree that has fragmented. At Ystradfellte in Powys only a short piece of stump remains of one of its fragments. The reason for it being cut off close to the ground is not known.  At Waldershare in Kent (1999) the smaller fragment had leaned into the branches of a neighbouring yew tree.

Yew at Ystradfellte © Tim Hills
Yew at Ystradfellte © Tim Hills
Yew at Waldershare © Tim Hills
Yew at Waldershare © Tim Hills
Fragmented Yew in Churchyards The Process of Fragmentation Fragmentation Creating 2 Trees
Interpretation of Irregular Fragments Yews on Mounds Conclusion