Tassita Wood in Nebrodi Park
The Tassita wood of the Nebrodi Park is the only example of Taxus Baccata in Sicily.
The wood, which extends for fifty hectares, is the largest and southernmost in Europe where the Baccato Yew dominates, considered a tertiary relict, i.e. a very widespread species up to two million years when the climate was more temperate and humid , today much rarer. The Baccato Yew is also called the "Tree of Death" due to the fact that all parts of the plant, with the exception of the fruit, are toxic, but secretes, on the other hand, a substance, a diterpenoid, the taxol or taxol, used in the therapy oncological. Some of the oldest trees in the Park stand majestically in the woods: three yew trees, whose age is estimated between five hundred and seven hundred years, with a height of about twelve meters and a circumference of over four meters; two mountain maples whose age is between four hundred and seven hundred years, up to twenty-six meters high and with a circumference of eight; a three hundred year old field maple; a beech of four hundred. To enrich the atmosphere of the place is the presence of bryophytes, the mosses, which cover quartzarenite rocks and stems.
The forest can be reached from Portella dell’Obolo, in the territory of the Municipality of Caronia. It is possible to decide whether to leave the car and start the journey or reach the access door that encloses the Tassita di Caronia wood of the Nebrodi Park by car. It is not recommended to take this route in the event of a crowded road or if in possession of excessively low cars. This journey is approximately two kilometers. The park entrance is marked with a sign and access is via a ladder. At the very beginning of the path there is a sort of amphitheater on several levels, surmounted by a large tree, below there is a small spring of fresh and clean water.