The European Tree of the Year competition for 2012 is now underway and a lime (Linden) tree from Lipany, the winner of the Slovak national contest, is ready to go up against some strong competition from its European neighbours.
“Through the individual stories of the trees and the history surrounding them, we strive to draw Europeans’ attention to the trees around them and the need to preserve old trees and wide botanical variety,” said Hana Rambousková, the competition’s coordinator from the Nadace Partnerství (Partnership Foundation) from Brno in the Czech Republic.
Slovakia’s entrant is a small-leaf lime – Tilia cordata Miller – that is 320 years old and stands in the municipality of Lipany in eastern Slovakia. Lipany, of course, has a tell-tale name as lipa in Slovak means a lime tree and in the past the town was called Sedem Líp (Seven Limes) until the 16th century as seven trees remained in the village from an old Slavonic lime tree forest. The small town still retains seven lime trees in its coat of arms.
The competition in Slovakia has been organised by Nadácia Ekopolis (Ekopolis Foundation) for the past ten years and last year the Slovak winner (an oak tree from Dubinné) placed 4th in the European competition, drawing 3,403 votes.
“We believe that this year the Slovak tree will draw more fans. The lime tree from Lipany is really beautiful and has a magnificent CV. We are keeping our fingers crossed for it and we are very curious how many fans it has in Slovakia,” said Milan Hronec from Nadácia Ekopolis.
People can vote until February 29 at www.treeoftheyear.org. The results will be announced on March 1. Other entrants also have interesting stories such as a Polish oak tree which is said to be able to fulfil secret wishes, a Bulgarian elm tree that reportedly has the same power, a Romanian elm tree that was the sole survivor of a fire that destroyed its whole village, and a one-thousand-year-old mastic tree from Corsica that reportedly was saved from flames by a female shepherd who let her own house burn down to save the tree.