Trees of Latvia: The thickest tree in the Baltics

Latvian Radio offers the latest installment in the "Greatest Trees of Latvia" series. This time Latvian Radio visited the great oak in Kaive in the Tukums region. With a girth of about 10.4m, it's the thickest tree in the Baltics.

Latvian Radio visited the oak of Kaive (Kaives senču dižozols), accompanied by nature protection expert Vita Caune of the Nature Conservation Agency.

The 400-year-old tree is propped with poles, and it's also donned with ribbons featuring the Lielvārde belt left there by newlyweds who come to to ask for the blessing of the still-growing giant oak.

"It's thought that an ancient place of worship was once here. That's why the tree has a status of an archaeological monument," she said.

"There's a view that there had been a sacrificial grove here long ago, because there were numerous great oak trees in the vicinity," said Caune.

The inside of the tree is hollow and there's a big hole on one of its sides. Oaks, like this one, are home to about 400 varieties of invertebrates, said Caune.

The wooden boards were fastened to the tree so that water couldn't seep into the trunk and it wouldn't rot as quickly. 

"According to Guntis Emiņš, before the boards were put on the tree, owls used to live in the tree," said the nature expert.

Dižkoki (great trees) are Latvia's largest trees, protected by law. Long ago, the greatest trees were thought to be holy and signal the presence of god.

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