World    Asia    Tibet  ※  Trees

Baji Cypress (King Cypress)

Baji Cypress (King Cypress), Tibet
Baji Cypress (King Cypress) / Kosi Gramatikoff, , public domain

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 29.6222 N 94.4021 E
No:404        (list of all attractions)
Category:Trees
Values:Biology, History
Rank:5
Address:Asia, Tibet, Nyingchi Prefecture, in southern suburbs of Nyingchi city, south-east from Baji (Bayi), in a cypress grove
Alternate names:Great Cypress, "God of Tree"
Species:Tsangpo River cypress (Cupressus gigantea W. C. Cheng & L.K. Fu)
Diameter:5.8 m (circumference roughly 18.2 m)
Height:~ 50 m

The Baji Cypress has a trunk circumference of some 18.2 m and is approximately 50 m tall. According to legends this tree has seen the birth of one of world's oldest religions - Bön.

Cupressus gigantea

Baji Cypress is located in a grove of similar giant trees, all belonging to a very rare species - Tsangpo River cypress, Cupressus gigantea.

This magnificent tree species was described scientifically only in 1975. These cypresses grow only in the deep valley of Tsangpo River and its tributaries Nyang and Nize at 3,000 - 3,400 m height, along some 200 km long section of Tsangpo river.

Tsangpo River cypresses are becoming increasingly rare and are endangered. These magnificent trees are the tallest cypresses in the world, often more than 50 m tall.

Sacred Bön place

According to legends the Baji Cypress is linked to a legendary person - Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche. This man lived long ago, before Gautama Buddha (e.g. before the 5th century BC) and founded Bön religion. This religion is practiced up to this day and is seen as relict, more ancient Tibetan tradition, echo of unexplored past of this unusual country.

Baji Cypress was the "life tree" of Miwoche, this tree has similar age to the ancient Bön religion, which predates Buddhism, Christianity, Islam.

Nature Reserve

Thanks to the legendary status Baji Cypress and trees around it have been preserved up to this day. Area of the grove is approximately 8 ha, but the Baji Giant Cypress Nature Reserve protects larger area - more than 6,000 ha, with several more (less impressive) groves of cypresses.

Many ancient cypresses have similar size to Baji Cypress, but Baji cypress is somewhat larger. Crown projection of this tree is 668 m², estimated age - some 2,600 years.

There is a possibility that some other cypress is even larger than Baji Cypress.

Map

See Baji Cypress on the map of Tibet!

References

  1. Cupressys gigantea, The Gymnosperm Database. Accessed in the 2nd May 2013

Landmarks of Tibet

Mount Kailash - Buddhist sacred site, Tibet
Mount Kailash - sacred site of Buddhists and earlier cultures / Heringf, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Few countries in the world are as shrouded in myths and legends as Tibet is. This is land with mountainous (highest mountains in the world!), rugged and harsh terrain - and lots of unspoilt nature. All this scenery is dotted with thousands of historical landmarks - megaliths, cliff art, abandoned and existing towns and cities, thousands of rock-cut chambers and passages, monasteries.

Trees

Tree Of Life, Bahrain
Tree Of Life, Bahrain / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees of the the world. Total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess - may be 10,000 and may be 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including the Western Europe.

Your thoughts?