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Tremythos of Simou

Century Old Trees


Centuries-old trees or natural monument trees or giant trees are important examples of our natural and cultural heritage. They lived in periods of extremely adverse conditions and withstood the test of weather and time, but also the destructive fury of fire and reckless actions of the human beings. They are witnesses of distant historical events and are often closely connected with the traditions, myths and legends of our long-suffering island. Century-old trees have a high aesthetic, ecological and historical cultural value. They are also important as they maintain a special biodiversity. The more microhabitats a tree offers, the more likely other organisms will choose it as a place to live.


What are century trees?

When we say century-old trees or trees that are monuments of nature, we mean trees or large shrubs with unusually large dimensions and with an age that generally exceeds two to three centuries.

It is perhaps self-evident that there can be no set limits on the dimensions a tree must have to qualify as a monument of nature. Its dimensions largely depend on the species, ecological conditions and other factors. Thus, a pine tree on a windswept ridge, with shallow and poor soil, may be 200 years old and its diameter may not exceed 50cm and its height may be limited. In order for a tree to be classified as a century-old tree, in addition to its dimensions and age, its historical value and other characteristics, such as location, type and vitality, are taken into account.

Some trees are generally short-lived and so may hardly grow to a size or live long enough to qualify as centuries-old, such as poplars, walnuts, figs and alder. Long-lived trees, such as oak, olive and mastic trees, live longer and it is natural that there are available in greater number.

Simou Mastic Tree

Simou Mastic Tree- Pistacia atlantica

Name: Pistachio the Atlantic

Common Name:  Mastic Tree-Terebinthus

Scientific name: Pistacia atlantica

Family: Anacardiaceae

Stem girth                                           6.25m

Height                                                  14m

Age (years)                                         1000

Robust deciduous tree, with broad crown, ash-brown bark, compound leaves and monoecious flowers.


General description:

Tremithos( Mastic Tree)  is a large deciduous tree with a wide crown and a height of up to 15 meters. It is known by the scientific name Pistacia atlantica. The Pistacia genus to which Tremithos also belongs includes 11 species distributed mainly in the Mediterranean, Asia, Mexico, the USA, the Caucasus region, Iran, the Atlantic islands and northern Africa. Of these, the Tremithos, the Tremithia (P. terebinthus) and the Schinia (P. lentiscus) are native plants of Cyprus, while the pistachio tree (Halepiani)   is cultivated for its edible fruits, the well-known Pistachio (Halepiano)   in Cyprus.

The fruit (trimithi or tremithi) is red at first and olive green when ripe, from September to December, and is edible.


The spread of the Mastic Tree  in Cyprus starts from sea level and reaches up to 1500m altitude. Many times in Cyprus we find it in village squares, field boundaries, stony slopes, in house yards and near chapels. It exists in many areas of the island, but is more common in Pafos district.


The well-known “Pafitiki Pissa” (Pafos Gum) is produced from The Mastic trees. The resin of the tree is used as a raw material for the preparation of tar. Trementine, a thick and resinous substance, is obtained from old trees by cutting into various parts of the tree trunk with an axe  or pickaxe. After special treatment of turpentine, “Pafitiki Pissa” (Pafos Gum) is produced, which has a characteristic natural aroma and many healing properties.

The fruits of the Mastic Tree are used as a spice for the preparation of local pasta, terebinth pies, while in many regions they are eaten fresh or dried with salt. Also, in the past in some areas, the fruits were used for the preparation of terebinth oil which was used for frying.

Threats and Protection:

In Cyprus, due to the rapid residential development of recent years, Mastic tree (Tremithos) has been limited to a few, small and sparse clusters  found on private lands. However, there are many individual trees, especially in the southwestern part of the island.

The Forestry Department in its effort to protect the species has selected some century-old trees of large dimensions, which have been declared as Natural Monuments. The oldest tree is located in the village of Apaisia and its age is estimated at around 1500 years. Other protected Tremithos are located in the villages of Kritou Marottos, Pervolia, Tala, Giolou, Potamiou, Pentalia, Inia, Geroskipou and Kelokedara while some protected clusters of trees are located in the villages of Arsos, Kiti and Geroskipou.

The Forest is Precious

The forest is the backbone of the Natural Environment. It is a renewable natural resource, irreplaceable, a versatile ecosystem that has the potential to create better living conditions for humans.

The forest is a complex entity (ecosystem) where various elements coexist,  interact, and finally manage to balance their relationships, thus playing an important role in the biological balance in nature. These elements are the trees, the bushes, the microflora and other vegetation, the birds, the animals, the microorganisms, the soil with all the organic and inorganic components, the rocks, the water and finally the rain, the shade , the temperature, the light and the climate in general.

In today’s era where environmental pollution is a cause of disruption to human health, the forest works continuously, like a biological laboratory that produces products and offers its services to maintain the balance of nature.

It is noted that the disappearance of a single species of tree can significantly change an ecosystem, causing problems in its functioning. Forests store 50% of carbon dioxide, so further loss of trees will reduce our ability to combat climate change.

Therefore the forest is precious!

20 reasons why the forest is valuable!

  1. Produces oxygen. The most valuable and irreplaceable element without which man cannot live and in general without it there is no life. One hectare of forest produces five tons of oxygen per year. It needs 2.5 tons to satisfy its own needs while 2.5 tons are released into the atmosphere. With this amount, the oxygen needs of 10 people are met.
  2. Creates a pleasant forest environment. Forest foliage reduces light intensity by absorbing infrared radiation. Thus, in the forest, the light is rich in green radiation, which affects and induces calmness in humans.
  3. Absorbs or retains harmful substances, such as carbon dioxide, solid particles, sulfur dioxide and other oxides. Half a hectare of forest absorbs in a year, 400 kg of carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen and biomass.
  4. Reduces noises. Vegetation within the forest has the ability to reduce noise.
  5. It moderates extreme temperatures. In Summer reduces high temperatures while in winter increases low temperatures. The forest retains much of the solar radiation and blocks the terrestrial radiation.
  6. It reduces the momentum and intensity of the winds. Wind is a powerful force. Particularly strong winds can damage crops, while constant wind causes plants to lose more water through evaporation. In some areas, windblown dust can damage plants. The forest calms the dangerous winds and protects the crops. After the forest (on the leeward side) the wind intensity decreases to 12-15% of the initial (in the countryside) at a distance of about 400 meters, i.e. at a distance 15 times the height of the forest trees.
  1. Increases rains. Converts air humidity and fog into water droplets.
  2. It protects the soil from the force of the rains thus preventing the phenomenon of erosion and the formation of torrents and floods in the lowlands. Soil erosion has dangerous consequences. It causes the loss of fertile land, leads to increased pollution in streams and rivers and harms the animal population. Floods, dust storms and mudslides are also common in areas with high soil erosion. Trees reduce erosion by holding the soil with their roots. Leaves and branches that fall from trees also help absorb water and prevent the soil from washing away.
  1. Enriches groundwater. Most of the rainfall in the forests is absorbed by the soil which is like a sponge and enriches the underground water reservoirs resulting in an increase in the water sources and the water in the wells.
  2. Improves water quality. The water from the forest is clean, without ammonia and nitrates, without bacteria, with more beneficial ions of mineral substances and a better PH.
  3. Reduces soil evaporation and increases soil moisture. Increased humidity means more vegetation, richer fauna and coolness in summer.
  4. Creates the soil without depleting its ingredients. This is achieved by recycling nutrients. All the organic matter that falls to the ground, leaves, twigs, improves the soil.
  5. It is a refuge for fauna and flora. Half of the world’s animal and plant species rely on trees as their habitat, with forests containing around 75% of bird species, 68% of mammal species and up to 10 million invertebrate species.
  6. It produces large amounts of biomass such as wood, grasses, leaves that man uses for his various needs.
  7. Offers opportunities for entertainment. Hiking, climbing, biking and camping are some forms of Forest Recreation that are very popular around the world.
  1. Spiritual, mental and physical health. It creates healthy working and living conditions that promote the health of all. It offers opportunities for employment, creation, sports and entertainment.
  1. They produce food. In the forest one finds fruits and seeds as well as a rich variety of edible mushrooms and various fruits. There are also various game such as hares, partridges and woodcocks.
  1. It helps the cultural development of the place. With the forest as an object, people express themselves better, they indulge in literature, painting and in general the fine arts.
  2. It contributes to social development and promotes culture. It is a natural good, with multifaceted importance and incalculable value for life, for man. A renewable natural resource with enormous, inexhaustible potential for the economic, environmental, social and cultural development of the place, creating better living conditions.
  1. People depend on forests. Over 1.5 billion people depend on forest resources for their survival. These resources provide food, fuel, medicine, shelter and more. According to the World Fund for Nature, if these forests disappear, poverty would skyrocket and millions of refugees would be created.


More forests = better living conditions

The forest without man can exist,but man cannot live without the forest

How Do We Show Our Love For Trees?

Forests are the lungs of the earth: essential for environmental stability and human health and happiness. These magnificent and ancient ecosystems are home to 50% of all terrestrial species on Earth. And yet, especially in the tropics, forests are in immediate danger. Our planet’s forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate due to unsustainable agriculture, development, logging and mining. If deforestation continues at the current rate, rainforests will disappear within the next 70 years.

Fortunately, there are solutions!

Discover 9 ways to protect trees and forests, both locally and around the world.

  1. I Protect the trees and forests in my area!

Forests and trees—especially large trees and mature forests—have many benefits. They provide habitat for a multitude of species, store carbon, enrich groundwater and provide better water quality, protect soil from erosion, stabilize the climate and provide places for recreation and connection with nature. The preservation of forests, and the creation of parks in cities contribute in the best way to achieving the above.

  1. I plant trees—the more the merrier!

Reforestation is a critical part of the solution to climate change, and restoring degraded ecosystems provides important habitat for threatened species. Planting trees in my place is my best contribution to society.

  1. I’m learning about forests!

I educate myself about forests, their importance and the threats they face. The more I learn about these wonderful ecosystems, the more I can appreciate their beauty, complexity and critical role in the health of our planet. With my new knowledge, I can also inspire others to take action! There are many excellent books, websites and documentaries for me to explore.

  1. I buy forest-friendly (or certified) products

I use my purchasing power, which has a big impact, to prevent deforestation. Agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of deforestation worldwide, along with mining and logging. I avoid buying products that come from the tropics and look for Sustainable Product certifications when I shop. Supermarkets and organic food stores often carry these products.

  1. I demand better labeling of products so I know if they are certified and sustainable.

Although certifications can give consumers valuable information about the environmental impact of the products they buy, the vast majority of products are not certified and many stores do not carry certified products. I require local stores to offer certified products.

  1. I support solutions to climate change.

Climate change is already affecting all aspects of human society and the natural world, especially forests. Rising temperatures in the atmosphere will lead to the extinction of many species as it disrupts the delicately balanced ecosystems upon which countless creatures depend. It is also expected to increase the frequency and severity of droughts and fires particularly in the Mediterranean Zones and in places such as Australia, Indonesia, and the highly biodiverse Amazon rainforest. Forests offset climate change by storing carbon and directly control rainfall and other climate patterns. Working with my community to prevent climate change.

  1. I often visit forested areas.

I spend time in forests and green spaces. I will have a greater appreciation and connection to the natural world, as well as positive effects on my health and well-being. As the world urbanizes and people spend more time online, society is increasingly disconnected from nature. So I’m going out! I go hiking or camping, have a picnic or try to spot and observe some birds.

  1. I teach children about forests through books and outdoor exploration.

Children are the future – I inspire their love for our planet. I read books about trees with them, teach them about forest ecosystems, or even better, explore a park with them! Not only is nature good for children, but children’s contact with nature is associated with positive environmental behaviors as adults. I let their curiosity run wild – maybe I’ll discover something too!

  1. I share my love of forests with others.

One of the most powerful causes of forest destruction is ignorance. As forests are being destroyed around the world and our society is becoming more and more distant from nature, we must all do what we can to spread the word about the importance of forests

Discovering The Life Cycle Of The Tree

The life cycle of the tree is an extremely interesting topic and  can attract the attention of both children and adults by expanding their knowledge about plants.

The importance of trees for the environment is vital, as they provide a large amount of oxygen to the planet, clean the air of harmful or toxic substances, are part of the natural landscape, help control soil temperature, are used in agriculture by producing fruit, reduce speed and intensity of winds, protect the soil from erosion and are a source of energy in developing countries.


The stages of the life cycle of the tree follows


1. Planting

Several factors must be taken into account when planting trees, such as climate, soil, species, sun exposure and soil depth – as each of these will determine the chances of success or failure.

It is extremely important to choose the species according to the climate, the soil and the altitude where a tree will be planted in order for it to survive.

Sowing can be done in two ways: by sowing in the final position of the plant, or sowing in bags in the nursery and planting the produced seedlings in their final position.

Whether it is reforestation or afforestation, the right thing would be to first study the area where the planting will take place taking into account the above-mentioned aspects – then the area must be cleared of weeds and any element that can adversely affect the sowing and then to plant the seed.

If it is to be sown in bags at the nursery and later the seedlings produced are transplanted to their final location, the soil in the bags must have the necessary nutrients for the tree to grow.


2. Seedlings

In this phase plants tend to be weak and most of the energy is concentrated in their growth, in order to grow thick shoots, and roots at a greater depth. At this stage of the tree’s life cycle, the emphasis is on protecting the trunk and transporting water from the soil to the entire plant.

It is observed how some species grow with a vertical and straight trunk while some others need support or support to develop it.


3. Young tree

When the tree is young, it begins to slow down its growth to prioritize other processes. Its appearance is similar to an adult tree, although smaller and without the ability to reproduce.

This usually happens from the age of five, as they do not need any support or support for their development.

Likewise, the tree should be pruned to one-third of its height to remove any shoots or branches that weaken it.

At the same stage, the tree will begin the “growth” phase, during which its crown consists of branches and foliage.


4. Development or maturation

This stage of the tree’s life cycle can vary greatly by species, as others take longer or less time to grow, as well as the height they will reach, or the time they will bear fruit for reproduction. However, we can point out the following:

Secondary branches are produced each year, which allow a new crown to form.

Although each species is different, trees are characterized by a much longer lifespan than other plants. Today there are trees that are over 2,000 years old. According to the evidence found, the two oldest known trees are 4849 and 5067 years old.

The trees typically reach sizes from three to one hundred meters tall, with Sequoias being the largest. For example, in the Parque de las Secuoyas, the largest tree is 84 meters tall.

There are more than 100,000 different species of trees, which together make up 25% of the plants that thrive on the planet. However, there are still many areas to explore.

On the other hand, it is also possible to speak generally about the life cycle of the tree, based on some of the research carried out so far.


5. Maturity

The roots of the tree reach a greater depth, so the absorption of water and nutrients occurs naturally and no intensive care is required. However, frequent watering and fertilizing before the start of this phase accelerates the growth and maturation of the tree

A tree is considered mature when it is able to produce seeds and pollen so that it can reproduce effectively. Therefore, much of the tree’s energy is used to produce seeds.


6. Reproduction

Trees can reproduce in a number of ways, although most do so by seed. These seeds are formed in female flowers, which are pollinated by wind or insects, which carry the cells of the male flower. Although the flowers can also be hermaphrodite.

In the case of tree reproduction through seeds they manage to reach the ground with the help of the wind or various kinds of animals – where the seed can germinate and grow if the conditions are right.

In addition, there are also two types of reproduction, that of rhizomes and that of cuttings. The first type of reproduction refers to the shoots or sprouts given by the roots and which will later become trees – while cuttings are production with desirable characteristics for use both for agricultural purposes and for forestry manipulations.

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