São Brás oak tree
São Brás oak tree (Credit - Tracy Smith)

Portugal’s second best tree is in São Brás de Alportel

Oak tree in São Brás finishes second in national contest

A centuries-old oak tree (Quercus rotundifolia) located in São Brás de Alportel has won second place in the 2023 Árvore do Ano (Portuguese Tree of the Year Contest).

São Brás de Alportel Council has celebrated the feat, stressing that the “magnificent tree”, which is believed to be around 250 years old, is one of the most popular attractions of the municipality, especially among those travelling on the EN2 national road.

The tree is 17 metres tall and was named a Public Interest Tree in 1942.

Ten trees across Portugal were in the running for the top spot in the contest, which went to a 144-year-old eucalyptus tree in Viseu which received 3,046 votes and will now represent Portugal at the European edition.

The São Brás oak tree was close behind with 2,879 votes, followed by the giant chestnut tree in Pêra do Moço which finished third.

Voting was open to everyone online after 39 bids were presented, which a jury narrowed down to 10 finalists.

The European Tree of the Year contest was created in 2011 and was inspired by Czech Republic’s Tree of the Year contest. The European round is a finale consisting of the winners of the national rounds.

“The purpose of the European Tree of the Year is to highlight the significance of old trees in the natural and cultural heritage that deserves our care and protection. Unlike other contests, the European Tree of the Year doesn’t focus on beauty, size or age but rather on the tree’s story and its connection to people. We are looking for trees that have become a part of the wider community,” says the contest’s website.

By Michael Bruxo