For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. (Martin Luther)
Click to enlarge!
© Copyright 2010 Michael Paukner. All Rights Reserved.
Print Shop | Twitter | Facebook
I became fascinated with the subject of the world’s oldest living trees about two and a half years ago. I even did a speech for my public speaking class on them. It bored everyone to tears probably, but I find it so interesting. This is a great infographic.
A few caveats, however:
- Prometheus: Not alive anymore. It was the oldest non-clonal organism in the world when it was alive (though it has been surpassed now, as it was cut down at 4,844 years old). But it was cut down in the mid-60s by an idiot grad student and the US Forest Service for research. They had no idea what they were doing or how old it was. The stump is still there, though.
- Pando: The huge gap between its years dating how old it may be (80,000 - 1,000,000 years) is due to the fact that it is a clonal colony. Springing from a single male Quaking Aspen in Utah, a large stand of genetically identical stems flourishes on a giant root system. So it is constantly regrowing. In that way, it is not the oldest living tree exactly. The stand as a single organism is that old, but the stems (trees) themselves are not. No single tree in that stand is even close to that old.
- Creosote (actually named King Clone — creosote is the type of plant it is): A bush ring in the Mojave, not a tree. It is also a clonal colony.
- Old Tjikko: The oldest living individual clonal tree. The trunk of this spruce is only a few hundred years old, but due to either a process called layering (where a branch makes contact with the ground and new roots sprout) or the process of vegetative cloning (the trunk dies but the root system lives and may resprout a new trunk), the tree itself may be approximately 9,550 years old.
- Old Rasmus: I think it’s the same story as with Old Tjikko, as it is also a spruce
- Jurupa Oak: Another clonal colony
- Huon Pine: Like Pando, there is a Huon Pine stand in Tasmania born of a single male tree that reproduced (vegetatively) to create a stand in excess of 10,500 years old. No tree in the stand is that old, but the stand itself as a single organism is about that old.
Now, two of the oldest still-living individual, non-clonal trees are a newly discovered (2013) unnamed tree (5,063 years old), and Methuselah (4,845 years old). Both located in eastern California near Nevada (the oldest in the White Mountains, Methuselah in the Inyo Mountains), they are both Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, the same species as Prometheus (which was located on the Nevada side). As a whole, GB Bristlecones are one of the longest living species in the world.
Conclusion? I know way too fuckin’ much about trees off the top of my head. If only I could use this power to remember useful things, instead of trivia.