Located a church courtyard, in the picturesque town of Santa Maria del Tule, the Tree of Tule is a 2,000-year-old Montezuma cypress famous for having the world’s thickest trunk.
So just how thick is Mexico’s Tule Tree? Well, it takes thirty people with arms extended joining hands to fully encircle it, so that should give you an idea. Officially, it has a circumference of 42 meters, which sounds impossible for a tree trunk. In fact, in the past people and scientists alike were convinced that the Tree of Tule had resulted from the merger of two separate tree, until DNA evidence showed that there was in fact just one tree.
The Tree of Tule is not only impressively girthy, but also very tall, dwarfing the nearby church of Santa Maria and its spire. And despite being about 2,000 years old, it’s still growing.
El Árbol del Tule is the most famous tree in all of Mexico, and for good reason. No tree in the world even comes close to it in terms of girth, so people come from far and wide just to see it in person. Just the thought that it has been around since Roman times makes the short journey from the nearby Oaxaca city well worth it.
The gnarled, twisted bark of the Tree of Tule has become an attraction in itself, with local tour guides using pocket mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays and point out animal silhouettes and other shapes growing in the tree.
The Tree of Tule is actually the tree of life for the people of Santa Maria del Tule, as as many as three quarters of the local population relies directly on this popular tourist attraction for their livelihoods.