On the Sardinian hills there is a tree known as “Patriarca Verde” (Green Patriarch); it is the oldest wild olive tree in the world with a history of thousands of years! Surrounded by meadows and woods, this tree is part of the group of millenary oleaster trees of Luras.
The Lake of Liscia
On a warm autumn day we drive on the winding roads of the Sardinian hinterland, intending to reach this wonder of nature. Landscapes alternate outside the car windows on the way between towns and villages of Gallura: Aggius, Tempio, Calangianus… Before reaching the village of Luras, we take the road that descends towards the Lake of Liscia, created by the dam built around 1960. After a flat stretch, the route climbs up the hilly slopes where we can admire beautiful views of the lake. In front of us there is a mosaic of colors and nature, of gentle hills with lots of green… Woods and meadows alternating, masses of rock on the top of some the hills, more rugged mountains that surround the horizon… The lake with its jagged shores stretches out into the sinuous valleys.
Just before reaching the dam that encloses the lake, following the signs, we turn left and reach our destination.
The millenary wild olive trees
We enter the site of millenary wild olive trees near the small church of San Bartolomeo. We have to follow the path that leads to the ticket office, passing a small wood, to find ourself in front of the meadow where the group of millenary plants stands. In the large meadow in front the tree stands, imposing in height and, even more so, in breadth. We cannot be wrong: it is the Green Patriarch!
Experts estimate that this oleaster tree may have an age close to 4000 years, which makes it one of the longest-lived plants in the world (the first among the wild olive trees). There are no evidences that certify the time of birth of the tree, so the years estimation have been based on measurements of the trunk; therefore there could be a margin of a few centuries on the recognized age. Being a very old tree but at the same time quite delicate, the Green Patriarch is protected by a fence, which cannot be crossed. We follow the path that goes around the tree, allowing us to admire it from multiple angles and to appreciate the majesty of the stem.
Nearby there is a second wild olive tree, with an estimated age of two thousand years, and a third even smaller, about five hundred years old.
While it is not allowed to go beyond the fence and approach the Green Patriarch, it is instead possible to move freely around the two most recent oleaster trees. Through the paths that wind through the branches of these trees, we find ourself in a sort of large natural rooms surrounded by tree branches. From here you can admire the imposing trunks and the dense tangle of branches, stretching towards the sky or coming to prostrate themselves to the ground.