The oldest tree in Italy: 2,200 years old


Italy wins the primacy of the oldest tree. It is 2,200 years old , a study attests this surprising age thanks to an in-depth study with DNA. It is located in Sicily in Sant’Alfio, in the province of Catania, on the slopes of Etna. Its name is Castagno dei Cento Cavalli , the trunk is 18 meters in diameter, the foliage covers 1000 square meters. Its particular name is due to Queen Giovanna I of Anjou. She renamed it like this, after taking shelter under her foliage during a storm along with her 100 horsemen.

It was thought to be between 3-4 thousand years old, but today we know that it is precisely 2,200. This confirmation came from the study of the Council for Research in Agriculture and Analysis of the Agricultural Economy (CREA). The precise age was established thanks to the examination of some molecular markers already used to identify different varieties of chestnuts. The researchers used them to analyze DNA isolated from eight different spots in the foliage of the Hundred Horse Chestnut.

The results of the study show that the three trunks forming the tree originate from the same seed and not from sister chestnuts, as was believed. The three trunks were formed by radial fragmentation of the same plant. The prestige of this study goes beyond the registry identification of the chestnut, but it is also useful for other purposes. For example, determining the behavior of all other plants, growth mutations, genome variables and the evolution of living creatures.



  • A 2,200-year-long life: this is the age of the oldest tree in Italy (


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