Ten ancient trees on the planet and where to find them

Dendrochronology, a common way of determining a tree’s age (by its rings), gained widespread popularity in the early 19th century. Trees have been so beneficial to humans and nature, but what are the oldest trees on the planet?

Planting trees near your home can significantly improve your quality of life. It has scientific proven that tree walks can help reduce stress. And many of them are pensioners. No, seriously: dying of old age is something many trees don’t need to worry about.

So, to continue our discussion of these amazing priceless creatures, we have compiled 10 of the oldest trees on the planet.

1. Methuselah: White Mountains, California

Methuselah: White Mountains, California
©iStockphotos – Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree in California White Mountains Inyo National Forest

When it comes to non-clonal tree species – that is, these trees are not copies, this Methuselah tree is California’s secret and is the oldest in the world at 4852 years old. Although its specific location is withheld from the public by the US Forest Service, we know that it is in Methuselah Grove in Inyo National Forest.

2. Old Tjikko: Fulufjallet National Park, Sweden

Old Tjikko: Fulufjallet National Park, Sweden
Old Tjikko

Old Tjikko initially assumes to be the oldest tree in the world, at around 10,000 years old. Old Tjikko’s age was determined by carbon dating the plant material under the tree, as dendrochronology is ineffective for clonal trees. Although there is no specific path to the tree for you to admire in real life, it is possible (and desirable, according to the rangers) to look at it with a guided tour.

3. Sarv–e Abarkuh: Abarkuh, Yazd Iran

Sarv–e Abarkuh: Abarkuh, Yazd Iran
Sarv–e Abarkuh

The Zoroastrian or Abarkuh Cypress, this 4000-year-old tree, 26 meters high, is a national treasure of Iran. Some even suggest that it is the oldest living creature in Asia. Also, several myths say that Zoroaster (from which the tree’s name comes), a prophet widely associated with Ancient Persia, planted the tree himself.

4. Llangernyw Yew: Llangernyw, Conwy, North Wales

Llangernyw Yew: Llangernyw, Conwy, North Wales
Llangernyw Yew

Another (approximately) 4,000year-old incredible specimen of flora, this yew – a coniferous species with poisonous berries – can be found in a cemetery in a quaint Welsh village. One of the oldest trees in the UK, the Llangernyw, has lost some of its heart, but it remains tall (about 11 meters) to this day.

5. Pando: Fishlake National Forest, Utah

Pando: Fishlake National Forest, Utah
Pando

The Pando clonal tree colony has been around for at least 80,000 years. It may look like a grove when first viewed, but don’t be fooled: it is technically the only tree (Pando) that has been cloned or copied. The critical point here is its unique underground root system.

6. Gran Abuelo: Alerce Costero National Park, Chile

Gran Abuelo: Alerce Costero National Park, Chile
Gran Abuelo

This Cypress tree, also known as “Great-Grandfather” (literal translation), whose species is the largest tree species in South America, is about 3,646 years old and is over 60 meters tall.

7. The Senator: Longwood, Florida

The Senator: Longwood, Florida
The Senator

Officially the most prominent and oldest bald cypress (a tree native to the southeastern United States), the Senator met his demise in 2012 from a lightning strike that set off a fire. Regardless, we still had to include him on the list.

8. Patriarca da Floresta: Vassununga State Park, Brazil

Patriarca da Floresta: Vassununga State Park, Brazil
Patriarca da Floresta

About 49 meters high and over 3000 years old, this non-coniferous tree, the oldest of its kind in the country, is considered sacred (presumably because it has existed for a long time). This state park (and the tree itself), located about 250 kilometers from São Paulo, is the perfect stop on a weekend trip.

9. Vouves olive tree: Crete, Greece

Vouves olive tree: Crete, Greece
Vouves olive tree

It is noteworthy that the Vouves olive tree, from 2000 to 3000 years old, still produces olives. Also, an official natural monument, this particular specimen of flora is one of seven olive trees regarded as some of the oldest in the Mediterranean (and indeed the oldest living thing in Greece).

10. Jomon Sugi: Yakushima, Japan

Jomon Sugi: Yakushima, Japan
Jomon Sugi

The power of this tree – cryptomeria, or, as it is also called, “Japanese cedar” – is fantastic! The island on which it situates has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of this. Although its exact age has not yet been determined, the time frame picked before it germinated: somewhere between 2170 and 7200 years ago.

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