10 Of The World’s Oldest Living Trees
As experts in the tree care industry, we know that if a tree is properly cared for, it can live and thrive for a very long time. That got us to wondering: just how old are the oldest trees in the world? As it turns out, ancient! Today, we thought it would be fun to explore the history of the 10 oldest trees alive.
The Oldest Trees
Depending on how you measure, there are several different categories of the oldest living trees. Some trees are “clonal,” meaning they are comprised of genetically identical trees connected by a single root system. The root system itself is usually older than the parts of the tree visible above ground. For instance, one tree we’ll discuss has stems that only live about 600 years, but its root system is vastly older. Some trees have estimated ages. In any case, the ages of these trees are impressive.
The oldest living tree in the US and the world, Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva). It resides in the White Mountains of California and is an astonishing 4,852 years old. The tree is named after the oldest person mentioned in the Bible, who lived to be 969 years old. There is another tree, which is technically older, but Methuselah is considered the oldest living organism as a whole. Either way, consider this: Methuselah was growing before the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt were constructed. Let that sink in for a moment.
2. Old Tjikko
While the stem of this tree ages for only 600ish years, the root system is over 9,500 years old – determined using genetic testing and carbon dating. Old Tjikko is a Norway spruce (Picea abies), and it grows near other spruces that are all over 8,000 years old. If Old Tjikko could talk, they could tell you what it was like to see the glaciers recede from Sweden’s shores during the end of the last ice age.
3. Llangernyw Yew
Don’t ask us how to pronounce the name of this ancient Welsh tree. Located on St. Digain’s Church’s grounds, this Yew tree has not been precisely dated because it is difficult to measure the age of yews. However, current scientific estimates put the tree’s age at 4,000 – 5,000 years old with a girth of 35.3 ft.
This “tree” is one of the most interesting and not just because it’s old. What once was thought to be a forest of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) trees was determined actually to be a clonal colony of an individual male aspen. The age estimates for this massive organism vary greatly. Some say it’s only 14,000 years old. Others claim Pando as old as 80,000. Most scientists believe it to be closer to 14,000. Anything older than that, and it would have had to survive the last glacial activity during the ice age, this is highly unlikely. Using genetic testing, it was made clear that all the trees are actually part of the same dense root system.
5. Jomon Sugi
Older than the nation of Japan itself, Jomon Sugi is a Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) with an estimated age of 2,100 – 7,000 years. If you’d like to visit this tree for yourself, expect to spend 10 hours hiking and leaving before dawn. While this may seem daunting, the tree is located within Yakushima, a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you’ll have no shortage of beauty and natural wonder along the way.
6. Elia Vouvon
The name is Greek and roughly translates to “Olive tree of Vouves.” Located on the island of Crete, it is the oldest olive tree in the world – still producing the fruit after 2,000 – 5,000 years. Imagine: this tree is at least as old as Christianity. If the longer estimates are correct, then this tree was around when some of the famous Greek philosophers were pondering life’s biggest questions.
7. Jurupa Oak
Like Old Tjikko, the Jurupa Oak is a clonal Palmer’s oak (Quercus palmeri) located in California’s Jurupa Mountains. The colony has been around for an estimated 13,000 years. Interestingly, the colony can only grow after wildfires when the charred branches can sprout new growth.
8. Te Matua Ngahere
This is the oldest tree in New Zealand. Its name is Maori and translates to “Father of the Forest.” While only 52 ft. high, it’s certainly not as tall as other trees nearby. However, at 1,200 – 4,000 years old, this tree is definitely the oldest.
9. General Sherman
This giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is by volume the largest known living single-stem tree on earth. Aside from its impressive age of 2,300 – 2,700 years, General Sherman also boasts a massive 275 ft. in height and 36 ft. diameter.
10. Sunland Baobab
Even the youngest baobab trees are extraordinary. They grow in a unique characteristic way and are only found in parts of Africa and Madagascar. There is some controversy surrounding the exact age of the Sunland Baobob, but it is at least 1,000 years old. Some believe it’s closer to 6,000 years.
Keep Your Trees Thriving For Years To Come With PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care
We can’t guarantee your tree will live to one day make the list of oldest trees on earth, but we will give it all the help we can! From fertilization to pruning, the expert arborists at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care put decades of expertise to work for you. Keep your tree thriving for years to come! Call (877) 454-8733 today to schedule a visit or do so online here. For more ideas, tips, and information on tree care, be sure to browse our blog. For the latest deals and offers, don’t forget to check out our social media channels. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest!