November 16, 2020 – Sheltering a public square in the pretty Istrian village where she resides, The Oldest Lady in Medulin is Croatia Tree of the Year 2020 and will represent the country in the European Tree of the Year competition 2021
Najstarija Medulinka (the oldest lady in Medulin) is the winner of the Croatia Tree of the Year competition. She beat seven other contenders in a public vote set up by the competition’s organisers, the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Areas of Nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The Oldest Lady in Medulin will now represent Croatia in the European Tree of the Year competition 2021.
The Oldest Lady in Medulin © Sonja Barbara Bader
The Oldest Lady in Medulin can be found in centrally in her village, which lies at the south of the Istrian peninsula. She shelters a public square in the village of Medulin and much merriment has previously taken place at gatherings beneath her branches. In English, this type of tree is sometimes called European nettle tree, Mediterranean hackberry, lote tree, or honeyberry.
The Oldest Lady in Medulin won Croatian Tree of the Year 2020 with 9373 votes. The tree is 115 years old. This species, Celtis australis, is widespread in Mediterranean countries and can grow up to 25 metres in height. It has been said these trees can live up to 400 years. Their branches are pliable when young and so, in the past, the tree has been used to make walking sticks and the handles of some tools. It’s small fruits and its leaves are sometimes still used in folk medicine.
As many as 23,238 people this year voted in the Croatia Tree of the Year competition. The tree which came in second place was the London Planetree of Mursko Središće, Međimurje County with 5874 votes, and in third place was Baka Maslina (Grandmother’s olive tree) from Kaštel Štafilić in Split-Dalmatia County with 5068 votes.
Voting for European Tree of the Year will open on 1st February 2021 and people will be able to choose a favourite until 28 February 2021, when voting closes. The winner will be announced in Brussels on 21 March 2021 on World Forest Day. Croatia first participated in the European Tree of the Year competition in 2018 and last year narrowly missed winning the competition. The country took second place for its 2020 entry, the 242-year-old Ginkgo biloba tree which stands in front of Castle Janković in Daruvar.
The 242-year-old Ginkgo biloba tree which stands in front of Castle Janković in Daruvar, Croatia Tree of the Year 2019 © JU-Priroda-BBŽ