Kaive Oak (Senci Oak)
The largest (thickest) tree in Latvia and Baltic States is Kaive Oak – a beautiful tree which has a circumference of 10.55 m.
Name in Latvian
Map of the site
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Quest for noble trees
Searching for noble trees (large trees which exceed certain size limits and thus are protected by the state) by many in Latvia is seen as a good pass time during the weekends. Thousands of such trees have been registered and the largest ones are marked and mentioned in tourist guidebooks.
Thickest trees in Latvia are oaks (Quercus robur) although there is fierce competition with willow trees. Several oak trees exceed the circumference of 9 meters: Kanepu Oak has a circumference of 9.82 m, Rigzemju Oak – 9.64 m, Dambju Oak – 9.48 m, and the magnificent Sejas Oak – 9.15 m.
Nevertheless, only one oak tree in the Baltics exceeds the circumference of 10 m – this is Kaive Oak in Western Latvia.
This oak tree grows near the center of the village, among farmsteads and, of course, locals knew well about this giant tree.
The quest for the largest tree in Latvia became trendy during the 20th century and, of course, Kaive Oak was known as one of the largest ones. Around 1940 its circumference was some 8 meters but the first known exact measurement was made in 1974 when the girth was 9.35 m. Since then the tree was grown in thickness: by 1990 it exceeded 10 meters and on 31st December 2019 there was reported a circumference of 10.55 m. All measurements have been made at the height of 1.3 m.
Kaive oak grows in a picturesque meadow among orchards. From the distance, the tree does not seem to be very large – and it is low indeed, just some 18 m high. Its summit was chopped by a flash of lightning in the 1920ies and several large branches broke in 1990.
Since then this tree has been tended well and with love: the largest branches are supported and the enormous hollow is covered with a fine roof.
The age of the tree cannot be determined. Some oaks in Latvia have reached giant size over one century while others never grow to large size: thus the size of the trunk does not tell too much about the age of the tree.
Kaive Oak is a local tourist destination and people often leave small offerings – coins, fine webbings, or just colored rags. Small car parking is near the oak and a trail leads towards it.
Although sometimes it is considered that this was a sacred tree for local paganic cults, there is no evidence to support this. Nevertheless, it might be true: there are rather many trees in Latvia that have served as paganic shrines.
- Diži koki. Kaives dižozols, Dziedava.lv. Accessed on December 20, 2022.
Kaive Oak is included in the following list:
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