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Yew/Yews at Borrowdale - Fraternal Four England

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Copyright © Helen Leaf - 2018
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Notes: Largest of the Borrowdale yews 'Fraternal Four'. A hollow shell. It is one of the '50 Great British Trees' chosen to celebrate the Queen's jubilee year.
Classification: ancient
Classification Codes: A-g, bm
Girth cm: 752
Height measured:
Girth ft ins: 24' 8'' keeping tape 2' above sloping ground
Sex: female
Earliest mention: 1803
Source of earliest mention: Wordsworth's poem 'Yew Trees'
Date of visit: 20-Jun-02
Latest information: From an article in British Wildlife February 2015, pp 178-182 by Maurice Pankhurst, Stuart A’Hara and Joan Cottrell: A storm on 12th January 2005 was 'powerful enough to remove the entire canopy' of this tree but that by 2014 it had 'developed the beginnings of a new, albeit lower, canopy. Its future survival depends upon ensuring that the tree remains unmolested by farmstock and free from human intervention'. An earlier storm in 1998 saw the loss of a major limb, and this presented an opportunity for dendrochronological analysis, completed by Newcastle University and revealing a ring count of 1500 rings. DNA technology was aslo carried out to establish whether any of the three remaining trees might be genetic clones, and it was established that this yew and Tree 2 have identical DNA fingerprints. This means they were either once fragments of a larger tree or, as seems more likely, that one has developed from layered roots of branches of the other, and the article points out that 'the architecture of the above ground roots is highly suggestive of linkage'.

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