BOY OR GIRL – WHAT DO YEW THINK?

It’s one of the oldest yew trees in Europe. It’s stood for up to 5,000 years. And its habits looked certain. But the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire has sprung a surprise. It’s changing sex.

It has started sprouting berries on one of its upper branches – something only female trees do. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, said it was “quite a surprise” to find berries on the tree, in the churchyard of Fortingall.

Dr MAX COLEMAN, a science communicator at the Royal Botanic Garden said, “Yews are normally either male or female and in autumn and winter sexing yews is generally easy. Males have small spherical structures that release clouds of pollen when they mature. Females hold bright red berries from autumn into winter.

“It was, therefore, quite a surprise to me to find a group of three ripe red berries on the Fortingall Yew when the rest of the tree was clearly male.”

A big boost for the LGBT community?

The searching issue for the politically correct now is whether the tree should be addressed as bisexual, transsexual, pan sexual or simply gay.

What do yew think?

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