A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Olive Trees

April 3, 2017

The olive trees at the monastery of Tharri near Laerma on Rhodes are some of the largest I've ever seen. There are a number of ways to date a tree; radio carbon, dendrology and so on all of which can be unreliable or not possible especially when tree has split into many sections through old age. The annual growth of the rings varies between 0.7mm and 3mm depending on the local weather and soil conditions so this tree which I estimate is 2 metres in diameter can be worked out to be (radius) 1000mm x .7mm to 3mm = 330 years to 1430 years old.

However the Byzantine monastery was founded in the 9th century and is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The present monastery was built on the site of a temple to Apollo where a church was first built in the 5th century. So your guess is as good as mine with regard to the age of the trees.

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