Tajik tree, symbol of 'eternal independence', dies

  • December 22, 2013 - 7:39 pm
  • Tajikistan
  • Comments Off on Tajik tree, symbol of 'eternal independence', dies

Agence France-Presse,  August 21, 2013

A 50-year-old tree planted in the centre of Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe by President Emomali Rakhmon this year as a symbol of the ex-Soviet state's "eternal independence" has dried up and died.

The coniferous sequoia, reportedly imported from the United States and planted by Rakhmon at a ceremony in March outside the foreign ministry, died as a result of dehydration.

The tree, of a type which can live for up to 3,000 years, appears to have suffered as a result of a heatwave that pushed temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in Tajikistan, a Central Asian state that is hardly a natural home for the species.

A similar sequoia tree nearby -- which was not planted by the president -- is in better shape.

The embarrassment over the tree comes after strong winds earlier this year blew down a Tajik flag that officials had proudly boasted was fluttering at the top of the world's tallest flagpole in Dushanbe.