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El Arbol de Tule: probably the biggest tree in the world

Rohan Barnett

At over 2000 years old, El Arbol del Tule, which is actually an Ahuehuete Cypress, is amongst the oldest living trees in the world. With a 10 meter (33 feet) diameter trunk it is also considered by many to be the broadest tree in the world. The circumference of the trunk is an amazing 54 meters (178 feet) It is over 40 meters (130 feet) high, boasts a foliage diameter of over 51 meters (170 feet), and weighs over 500 tons.

Just look at the adult standing to the left of the tree in the first photo above!

Tree at Tule. World's largest girth tree.
The Tree of Tule: the largest girth in the world?

The appearance of the massive tree is that of multiple trunks fused together. Recent DNA tests, however, suggest that it is in fact a single individual tree!

The various contortions of the trunk give the appearance of the faces of goblins and monsters. In fact, if you visit you will be offered a tour of the tree by local school children (an official project) who will show you all manner of creatures hiding in the tree, including elephants and jaguars! If you click on the images on this page you'll see some of the spooky figures trapped in the tree.

This great ahuehuete (Montezuma cypress) specimen is still alive and growing, as can be seen by the dense foliage reaching 43 meters into the sky!

Unfortunately there are concerns about the future well-being of the tree. Please follow the links below to find out more.


Santa Maria del Tule is a small town in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Located 8 miles (13km) from the city of Oaxaca (on the way to Mitla), it is easily reached by bus or car.

Oaxaca, Mexico and the Arbol del Tule
Interesting information about the tree and the organization 'Mi Amigo del Arbol' which has been set up to protect it.

Celebrating the Tule Tree- by Ron Mader
A Eco-review of the tree and its environment.

A World Community of Old Trees
An Eco-Art Project in Progress.


© Rohan Barnett 2000
This article and photographs are kindly provided from his site, a collection of photo essays.
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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2000 by Rohan Barnett © 2008
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