Oldest Individual Tree in the World (Video)

The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, is a long-living species of tree found in the higher mountains of the southwest United States. The species is one of three closely related trees known as bristlecone pines and is sometimes known as the Intermountain or Western bristlecone pine.

Bristlecone pine Great Basin

Image via Wikipedia

A specimen of this species nicknamed “Methuselah” located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of the White Mountains near Bishop, California is 4,842 years old (as of 2011), as measured by annual ring count on a small core taken with an increment borer. Its exact location is kept secret, since an older specimen, nicknamed “Prometheus”, was cut down in 1964. It is the oldest known tree in North America, and the oldest known individual tree in the world, although a clonal individual, nicknamed “Old Tjikko”, a Norway Spruce in Sweden is 9,550 years old.

Bristlecone Pine on dolomite, White Mountains,...

Image via Wikipedia

Among the White Mountain specimens, the oldest trees are found on north-facing slopes, with an average of 2,000 years, as compared to the 1,000 year average on the southern slopes. The climate and the durability of their wood can preserve them long after death, with dead trees as old as 7,000 years persisting next to live ones.

Reference Wikipedia.

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23 Responses to Oldest Individual Tree in the World (Video)

  1. How embarrassing for me, an American, that YOU, the Aussie, know about this and I’ve never ever heard of it!! Just one more good reason to check in with Mags every day! I’d put “see this tree” on my travel list this year but I see they keep the location a secret. Don’t blame them. Cool.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi EOSR,
      I also think it’s a good idea to keep the exact location of the tree hidden, especially after what happened back in 1964, how ridiculous to have cut down that tree, which was older still, it beggars belief.

  2. Red Nomad OZ says:

    And I thought the 2500+ yo mallee (? I think!!) in a southern NSW botanic garden was pretty old!!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Red Nomad OZ,
      I didn’t know that they had a tree that old in the botanic gardens in NSW. We both learned something new. ๐Ÿ˜€
      (For those that are not sure a Mallee Tree is one type of Eucalyptus tree that we have here in OZ.)

  3. kymbo says:

    I saw a program on this tree years ago…amazing isn’t it? Australian Myall, Mallee and (surprisingly) Spinifex grow to many thousands of years as well.

  4. Theresa Lauf says:

    Pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing! I’ve seen 22,000 year old Aboriginal rock art, but you don’t expect trees to be around for as long as the ones mentioned in your blog.

  5. Val says:

    This is interesting to me for a different reason as I think this is what my mother may have painted. She did a strange painting of a tree just like this, from a photo in a book and I could never remember where it was supposed to be. Fascinating.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Val,
      That is uncanny. I would assume there would of been books written about these trees awhile ago, the story of the guy cutting down the oldest tree was big news back in 1964. It is very possible that your Mum’s painting is of this particular tree.

  6. Selma says:

    Absolutely amazing. It is otherworldly. It just blows my mind that trees have lived for that long!

  7. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Amazing to be that old – what memories the spirit of this tree must hold, scientific clues, wonder and awe…

  8. dearrosie says:

    Thank you for telling us about bristlecone pines – I’ve never heard about them even though we don’t live that far from Bishop. I keep getting messages that I’m to spend time with trees and nature and I know I’d learn much from the spirit of old trees like these.

  9. You’re like a living encyclopedia, Mags! = ) So amazing! = )

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Aina,
      It is amazing how long some trees live for, it is something I think not a lot of people think about, there are also trees that have a very short life span. ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank You, it’s good to hear that you enjoy some of my posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

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