European Tree of the Year 2015

Voting for the European Tree of the Year 2015 is easy! During the whole month of February every individual has the possibility to vote for his or her favourite tree online at www.treeoftheyear.org. The results will be published here on March 5th. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony on April 22nd in Brussels.

This year fourteen countries have taken part in contests national tree of the year.

Beginning today, people have the opportunity to choose their favourite stories among trees from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain and Wales. The winning trees are not the most beautiful or the biggest, but the trees which stories are most touching, the trees whose roots are more deepen into the living of the local people that surrounds them.
Now it is up to the public, which tree will win the European Tree of the year. Fourteen nice stories are introducing the national trees.

Czech participant is old black pine (Pinus nigra ssp. austriaca) at age 257 years, from small town Velke Opatovice (South Moravian region). The tree is nominated by Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation.

The Czech tree’s story

Thanks to its unique way of branching, this pine is the landmark of the castle park in Velké Opatovice. Reminiscent of a seven-headed dragon, it has attracted many generations of children to climb its branches. According to folk tales, the tree is a cursed dragon that fought St. George, patron of the local church. The pine used to be called “Juliette” because Countess Julie Herberstein, the last owner of the Opatovice estates often had been sitting on a white bench underneath it. The pine has been selected as a mother tree for seed collection and reproduction.

The European Tree of the Year contest originated in 2011. It was inspired by the popular Tree of the Year contest, which has been organised in the Czech Republic by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation for many years. The European round is a finale consisting of the winners of the national rounds.

The number of countries participating has increased from 5 to 14. The foundation is always looking for new partners in European countries, so that the protection of trees – bearers of genius loci – becomes a topic of international debate.

The information about all shortlisted trees and the trees stories are on the web www.treeoftheyear.org.