The largest tree in Estonia is the Tamme-Lauri Oak – a gorgeous tree with a trunk circumference of 8.5 m and interesting history.
Name in Estonian
Map of the site
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The largest tree in Estonia is somewhat smaller than the largest trees in Latvia (Kaive Oak) and Lithuania (Stelmužė Oak), but don’t be misled by figures!
Tamme-Lauri Oak is a magnificent, gorgeous tree with its own stories – a true noble tree!
Tamme-Lauri Oak stands separately, in a field and can be admired from afar.
The size of the tree increases: while in the 1990ies the reported circumference was 8.2-8.3 m, now it is 8.5 m (1.).
Lightning strikes have decreased the height of the tree – but it still is 17 m high.
Similar to most old oak trees, Tamme-Lauri Oak has a large hollow that in 1970 was filled with 8 tons of concrete, reinforced with iron. Before this, inside this hollow could stand up to 7 people.
In 1998 by incremental boring the age of the tree was measured. Then it was 680 years old, and now it is more than 700 years old. It means that it started to grow around 1318!
History and legends
The tree is named after Lauritsa – a fire spirit who lives in the tree. This spirit may send misfortune but sometimes – also good luck.
Most likely, the tree was part of a larger cult site that was destroyed by Johann Christian Quandt, the local pastor of the Moravian Church in the 18th century.
On 30 June 1939 the tree became a protected monument of nature.
In 1970, during the filling of the hollow it was discovered that Tamme-Lauri Oak was used as a hideout for Forest Brothers – resistance fighters against the Russian occupation in the 1940s-1950ies.
- Tamme-Lauri oak rest stop, RMK. Accessed on April 12, 2023.
In spite of its small size Estonia offers a wide array of very interesting natural and man-made landmarks. Highlights of Estonia are:
- Medieval Tallinn – one of the most amazing historical cities in this part of the world, built on and around a tall limestone cliff.
- Medieval castles and churches – Christianity came here with fortified stone buildings – castles and churches. In Estonia are located some of the most impressive palaces in this part of Europe.
The category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees in the world. The total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess – maybe 10,000 and maybe 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including Western Europe.
The heritage of Europe is diverse and endlessly interesting. Incomparably rich is the wealth of European historical architecture, but this part of the world has exciting natural heritage and archaeological heritage as well.
Professional arborist and award-winning nature writer William Bryant Logan deftly relates the delightful history of the reciprocal relationship between humans and oak trees since time immemorial―a profound link that has almost been forgotten. From the ink of Bach’s cantatas to the first boat to reach the New World to the wagon, the barrel, and the sword, oak trees have been a constant presence throughout our history.
This illustrated field guide, by David More and Owen Johnson, covers the trees of Britian and non-Mediterranean Europe.