Wind-whipped pear tree Czechia’s entry to European Tree of the Year contest
Voting in the European Tree of the Year 2024 contest is currently underway. Czechia’s candidate is an unusually shaped pear tree standing in the middle of a field near the village of Mrákotín in East Bohemia.
The Czech nominee for the European Tree of the Year 2024, a wind-whipped pear tree standing in the middle of a field, was selected in the national round of the competition, traditionally organised by the Partnership Foundation.
The winner of the Tree of the Year contest was selected from five candidates that made it to the Czech national final. The pear received 6,433 votes out of 28,250, becoming already the third fruit tree and a second pear tree to dominate the national vote.
The memorial tree, which has a protected status, doesn’t stand out for it size. It only measures about two metres around the trunk and eight metres in height.
What catches your attention straight away, though, is its unusual shape, molded by the strong winds that most often blow from the west in the region. A thick branch protrudes from the tree’s crown, giving it the shape of an inverted letter L.
What also makes the tree immediately noticeable is its lonely location in the middle of an open field. Deputy Mayor of Mrákotín, Petr Tomášek, says the locals have always had a strong connection to the tree:
“Some 50 years ago, we used to play around the tree. At the time, it was still surrounded by thick bushes that created a hiding place. We would make a fire by the tree and roast potatoes in the ashes.”
The pear tree is estimated to be around 110 years old and despite its smaller size, it has proven to be extremely resilient, says the Mayor of Mrákotín, Ludmila Vacková:
“It has experienced the building of drainage works and Communist collectivisation. It used to be surrounded by a pasture, with cows grazing beneath it and using its trunk to scratch their backs.
“Today, the Mrákotín farm cooperative has a field there, so large machines regularly drive past it and as you can see, it is exposed to harsh weather conditions, so its branches grow in one direction.”
Just like the previous winners of the Tree of the Year competition, the Mrákotín pear is now entitled to receive professional treatment from arborists.
Whether or not it wins the European vote, the locals plan to celebrate their now-famous tree, for instance by adding its picture to the village logo.
Meanwhile, voting for the winner of the European Tree of the Year 2024, which was launched at the beginning of the month, is still underway. People can cast their vote until February 22 on the website treeoftheyear.org.
The winner, selected from 15 contestants from all over Europe, will be announced on February 22.