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Vote for the United Kingdom’s Tree of the Year

Will you choose the one that grew from a dead sailor’s pocket?

The Armada Tree, Northern Ireland.
The Armada Tree, Northern Ireland. WTML/ Michael Cooper/Fair Use

It’s that time of year again, when treehuggers across the United Kingdom get to vote on their nominee for Europe’s Tree of the Year. The shortlist of trees from England, Scotland, Wales, and North Ireland has been released and, unsurprisingly, there are some truly incredible arboreal specimens in the running.

Each year, the United Kingdom’s Woodland Trust conservation group gathers a list of trees that people can vote on to represent the nation in the Environmental Partnership Association’s continent-wide contest. Voters can choose among six candidates from each part of the kingdom, with enough votes earning the trees small care and repair stipends—but only one can make it through to the big league vote.

Among the incredible trees up for nomination this year are the Armada Tree in North Ireland, which is said to have grown from a seed that was left in the pocket of a drowned 16th-century sailor who was buried there; the Bleeding Yew in Pembrokeshire, a 600-year-old arbor that oozes a red-sappy substance that is either the blood of Christ or stained rainwater; Cumbria’s humble Courageous Tree, which was cracked in half by a lightning strike decades past, but survives even though it is only two inches thick in places; and the Big Tree in Orkney, which has hung on despite being held up by a metal rod and completely surrounded by a growing city.

Many of these trees are old or delicate, and securing enough votes could mean much-needed funds. If you live in the United Kingdom you can vote for your favorite until October 8. If you don’t, you can still have a look at some of Europe’s finest trees.