List of oldest trees

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Old Tjikko, a 9,550-year-old Norway spruce, is the oldest known living individual clonal tree, located in Sweden

This is a list of the oldest known trees, as reported in reliable sources. Definitions of what constitutes an individual tree vary. In addition, tree ages are derived from a variety of sources, including documented "tree-ring" count core samples, and from estimates. For these reasons, this article presents three lists of "oldest trees", each using varying criteria.

There are three tables of trees, which are listed by age and species. The first table includes trees for which a minimum age has been directly determined, either through counting or cross-referencing tree rings or through radiocarbon dating. Many of these trees may be even older than their listed ages, but the oldest wood in the tree has rotted away. For some old trees, so much of the centre is missing that their age cannot be directly determined. Instead, estimates are made based on the tree's size and presumed growth rate. The second table includes trees with these estimated ages. The last table lists clonal colonies in which no individual tree trunks may be remarkably old but in which the organism as a whole is thought to be very old.

The record-holders for individual, non-clonal trees may be the Great Basin bristlecone pine trees from California and Nevada, in the United States. Through tree-ring cross-referencing, they have been shown to be more than 5,000 years old.

A clonal colony can survive for much longer than an individual tree. A colony of 47,000 quaking aspen trees (nicknamed "Pando"), covering 106 acres (43 ha) in the Fishlake National Forest of the United States, is considered one of the oldest and largest organisms in the world. The colony has been estimated to be 80,000 years old, although tree ring samples date individual, above-ground, trees at only an average of about 130 years.[1][2][3][4] A colony of Huon pine trees covering 2.5 acres (1.0 ha) on Mount Read, Tasmania is estimated to be around 10,000 years old, as determined by DNA samples taken from pollen collected from the sediment of a nearby lake. Individual trees in this group date to no more than 4,000 years old, as determined by tree ring samples.[5]


Individual trees with verified ages[edit]

NameAge (years)SpeciesLocationNotes
 ?5,063Great Basin bristlecone pine
Pinus longaeva
White Mountains, California, United StatesOldest known currently living tree. Tree cored by Edmund Schulman, age determined by Tom Harlan.[6]
Methuselah4,845[nb 1]Great Basin bristlecone pine
Pinus longaeva
Inyo County, California, United States[6]
Prometheus (WPN-114)4,844Great Basin bristlecone pine
Pinus longaeva
Wheeler Peak, Nevada, United StatesCut down in 1964.[6]
Gran Abuelo3,642Patagonian cypress
Fitzroya cupressoides
Cordillera Pelada, Los Ríos, Chile[6][8]
CBR263,266Giant sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesDead.[6]
D-213,220Giant sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesDead.[6]
The President3,200Giant sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesAlive.[6]
D-233,075Giant sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesDead.[6]
CMC 33,033Giant sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesDead.[6]
Scofield Juniper2,675Western Juniper
Juniperus occidentalis
Sierra Nevada, California, United StatesDead.[6]
CB-90-112,456Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine
Pinus aristata
central Colorado, United States[6][9]
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi2,217Sacred fig
Ficus religiosa
Anuradhapura, North Central Province, Sri LankaA sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which the Buddha became enlightened. It was planted in 288 BC and is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date.[6]
 ?2,200Coast Redwood
Sequoia sempervirens
northern California, United StatesDead.[6]
Bennett Juniper2,200Western Juniper
Juniperus occidentalis
Sierra Nevada, California, United States[6]
SHP 72,110Foxtail Pine
Pinus balfouriana
Sierra Nevada California, United States[6]
 ?1,940Subalpine Larch
Larix lyallii
Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada[6][10]
CRE 1751,889Rocky Mountain Juniper
Juniperus scopulorum
northern New Mexico, United States[6]
Miles Juniper1,825Western Juniper
Juniperus occidentalis
Sierra Nevada, California, United States[6][11]
 ?1,802Sugi
Cryptomeria japonica
Yakushima Island, Japan[12]
KET 39961,716Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis
Ketchum, Idaho, United States[6][13]
BFR-461,697Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis
Wasatch Mountains, Utah, United States[6]
FL1171,675Northern Whitecedar
Thuja occidentalis
Ontario, Canada[6][14]
ERE1,670Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis
northern New Mexico, United States[6]
RCR 11,666Foxtail Pine
Pinus balfouriana
Sierra Nevada, California, United States[6]
 ?1,661Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis
South Park, Colorado, United States[6]
BBL 21,649Foxtail Pine
Pinus balfouriana
Sierra Nevada, California, United States[6]
BCK 691,647Baldcypress
Taxodium distichum
Bladen County, North Carolina, United States[6][15]
 ?1,636Nootka Cypress
Callitropsis nootkatensis
Vancouver Island, Canada[6]
FL1011,567Northern Whitecedar
Thuja occidentalis
Ontario, Canada[6]
 ?1,542Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis
central Colorado, United States[6]

Old trees with estimated ages[edit]

NameAge (years)SpeciesLocationNotes
The Sisters6,000–6,800Olive
Olea europaea, Baladi/Ayrouni: Genotype
Bechealeh, Batroun district, LebanonAlso called "The Sisters Olive Trees of Noah"; alleged to be the world's oldest living olive tree.[16][17][18]
Llangernyw Yew4,000-5,000Common Yew
Taxus baccata
Llangernyw, Conwy, North WalesGirth of 10.75m. Situated in the churchyard of St. Dygain's Church in Llangernyw village. One of the 50 Great British Trees.
Sarv-e Abarkuh4,000Mediterranean cypress
Cupressus sempervirens
Abarkuh, Yazd, IranAlso called "Zoroastrian Sarv".[19][20]
The Senator3,500Pond cypress
Taxodium ascendens
Longwood, Florida, United StatesDestroyed by fire on January 16, 2012[21][22]
Alishan Sacred Tree3,000Formosan cypress
Chamaecyparis formosensis
Alishan National Scenic Area, Chiayi, TaiwanCollapsed on July 1, 1997, following heavy rainstorms.[23]
S’Ozzastru3,000–4,000Olive
Olea europaea
Luras, Sardinia, Italy[24]
Patriarca da Floresta3,000Cariniana legalisBrazilProbably the oldest non-conifer in Brazil. Its name translates as "Patriarch of the Forest".
Oliveira de Santa Iria de Azóia2,850Olive
Olea europaea
Santa Iria de Azóia, PortugalMagnific Olive tree, probably the last one from a large olive grove. Studied by UTAD University and now classified "Public interest tree" by the Portuguese National Forest Authority ; Tree ID
Unnamed2,850Olive
Olea europaea
Loures, Lisboa, PortugalAlive.[25]
Kayano Ōsugi2,300Japanese cedar
Cryptomeria japonica
Yamanaka Onsen, Ishikawa, JapanGirth of 9.6 m. One of the four trees believed to be sacred in the precincts in a Shinto shrine. Its name translates as "Great Sugi of Kayano".
Jōmon Sugi2,170–7,200Japanese cedar
Cryptomeria japonica
Yakushima, JapanGirth of 16.4 m. Exact dating is made difficult by the rotten core of the trunk. Its name is a reference to the Jōmon period of Japanese prehistory.[26][27][28]
Ballyconnell Yew2,000–5,000European yew
Taxus baccata
Ballyconnell, Annagh, IrelandOldest tree in Ireland and possibly in Europe.[citation needed]
Fortingall Yew2,000–3,000European yew
Taxus baccata
Fortingall, Perthshire, ScotlandPossibly the oldest tree in Britain[29]
Εlia Βouybōn2,000–5,000Olive
Olea europaea
Kolymvari, Crete, GreeceOldest olive tree in the world. Its name translates as "Olive Tree of Vouves".[30]
Castagnu dê Centu Cavaddi2,000–4,000Sweet chestnut
Castanea sativa
Sicily, ItalyIts name translates as the "Hundred Horse Chestnut".
Te Matua Ngahere2,000–3,000Kauri
Agathis australis
Waipoua Forest, Northland, New ZealandOldest tree in New Zealand. Its name translates as "Father of the Forest".
Ulleungdo Hyangnamu2,000–3,000Chinese Juniper
Juniperus chinensis
Ulleung-gun, Gyeongbuk, South KoreaGirth of 4.5 m. One of the main branch was broken in 1985 by typhoon "Brenda".
Lady Liberty2,000Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum
Longwood, Florida, United StatesSometimes called the "Companion Tree" to 'Senator".
S'khtorashen2,000Oriental plane
Platanus orientalis
Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh, AzerbaijanOldest tree in Azerbaijan. Its trunk is hollow. Also known as "Sose's Tree".
Stara Maslina2,000Olive
Olea europaea
Stari Bar, Bar Montenegro
The Pechanga Great Oak Tree2,000Coast live oak
Quercus agrifolia
Temecula, California, United StatesOldest oak tree in the United States, possibly in the world.
 ?2,000Olive
Olea europaea
Tavira, Algarve, PortugalOldest tree in Portugal.[31]
 ?2,000Olive
Olea europaea
Exo Hora, Zakynthos, Greece[32]
 ?2,000Yew
Taxus
Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, RussiaA grove known to possess several 2,000-year-old specimens.[33]
Houkisugi at Nakagawa2,000Japanese cedar
Cryptomeria japonica
Nakagawa Settlement, Yamakita town, Ashigarakami District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Kongeegen1,500–2,000Pedunculate oak
Quercus robur
Jægerspris Nordskov, Zealand, Denmark[34]
Methuselah1,800Coast redwood
Sequoia sempervirens
Redwood, California, United States[35]
Granit oak1,700Pedunculate oak
Quercus robur
Granit, Bulgaria
Aubépines1,500Common hawthorn
Crataegus monogyna
Saint-Mars-sur-la-Futaie, Mayenne, FranceOldest tree in France.[citation needed]
Angel Oak1,500Southern live oak
Quercus virginiana
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Seven Sisters Oak1,500Southern live oak
Quercus virginiana
Mandeville, Louisiana, United States
Stelmužė Oak1,500Pedunculate oak
Quercus robur
Stelmužė, Zarasai, LithuaniaOldest tree in the Baltic states.
Jardine Juniper1,500Rocky Mountain juniper
Juniperus scopulorum
Logan Canyon, Utah, United States[36]
Árbol del Tule1,433–1,600Montezuma cypress
Taxodium mucronatum
Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, MexicoStoutest tree trunk in the world. Its name translates as the "Tule Tree".

Clonal trees[edit]

As with all long-lived plant and fungal species, no individual part of a clonal colony is alive (in the sense of active metabolism) for more than a very small fraction of the life of the entire clone. Some clonal colonies may be fully connected via their root systems, while most are not actually interconnected, but are genetically identical clones which populated an area through vegetative reproduction. Ages for clonal colonies, often based on current growth rates, are estimates.[37]

NameAge (years)SpeciesLocationNotes
Pando80,000[38]–1,000,000[39]Quaking aspen
Populus tremuloides
Fishlake National Forest, Utah, United StatesCovers 107 acres (0.43 km2) and has around 47,000 stems (average age 130 years), which continually die and are renewed by its roots. Is also the heaviest known organism, weighing 6,000 tonnes.
Jurupa Oak[40]13,000[41]Palmer oak
Quercus palmeri
Jurupa Mountains, California, United StatesQuercus palmeri Engelm. = Quercus dunnii Kellogg.[41]
Old Tjikko9,550Norway spruce
Picea abies
Fulufjället National Park, Dalarna, SwedenThe tree's stems live no more than 600 years, but its root system's age[42][43] was established using carbon dating and genetic matching.[44] Elsewhere in the Fulu mountains, 20 spruces have been found older than 8,000 years.[45]
Old Rasmus9,500Norway spruce
Picea abies
Härjedalen, Sweden[46]
 ?3,000[47]–10,000[48]Huon Pine
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Mount Read, Tasmania, AustraliaSeveral genetically identical males that have reproduced vegetatively. Although single trees in this stand may be around 3 to 4 thousand years old, the stand itself as a single organism has existed for 10,000 years.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It is uncertain when Methuselah's age was determined, but "it seems likely the tree had 4,789 rings (crossdated) in the summer of 1957".[7] The age given here is based on this reference point.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grant, Michael C. (1 October 1993). "The Trembling Giant". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  2. ^ "Botanical Record-Breakers". W.P Armstrong. Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Quaking Aspen". National Park Service - Bryce Canyon. Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "SPECIES: Populus tremuloides". USDA - United States Forest Service. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Native Conifers of Tasmania". Paks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Retrieved 6 May 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, OLDLIST". Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Pinus longaeva". Gymnosperm Database. March 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ Lara, Antonio; Villalba, Ricardo (21 May 1993). "A 3620-Year Temperature Record from Fitzroya cupressoides Tree Rings in Southern South America". Science 260 (5111): 1104–1106. doi:10.1126/science.260.5111.1104. 
  9. ^ Brunstein, F. Craig; Yamaguchi, David K. (Aug 1992). "The Oldest Known Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pines (Pinus aristata Engelm.)". Arctic and Alpine Research 24 (3): 253–256. doi:10.2307/1551666. JSTOR 1551666. 
  10. ^ Worrall, John (1990). "Subalpine Larch: Oldest Trees in Canada?". The Forestry Chronicle 66: 478–479. doi:10.5558/tfc66478-5. 
  11. ^ Miles, D.H.; Worthington, M.J. (17–21 June 1998). "Sonora Pass junipers from California USA: construction of a 3,500-year chronology". In Stravinskiene, V.; Juknys, R. Dendrochronology and Environmental Trends - Proceedings of the International Conference. Kaunas, Lithuania: Vytautas Magnas University Department of Environmental Sciences. 
  12. ^ Suzuki, Eizi; Tsukahara, Jun (1987). "Age structure and regeneration of old growth Cryptomeria japonica forests on Yakushima Island". J. of Plant Research 100 (3): 223–241. doi:10.1007/BF02492832. 
  13. ^ Schulman, E. (1956). Dendroclimatic Changes in Semiarid America. Tucson: Univ. of Ariz. Press. 
  14. ^ Larson, D. W.; Kelly, P. E. (1991). "The extent of old-growth Thuja occidentalis on cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment". Canadian Journal of Botany 69 (7): 1628–1636. doi:10.1139/b91-206. 
  15. ^ Stahle, D. W.; Cleaveland, M. K.; Hehr, J. G. (10 June 1988). "North Carolina Climate Changes Reconstructed from Tree Rings: A.D. 372 to 1985". Science 240 (4858): 1517–1519. doi:10.1126/science.240.4858.1517. PMID 17798982. 
  16. ^ Carol Drinkwater (2011). "Lebanon". The Olive Route (1st ed.). Orion. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-78022-064-2. 
  17. ^ "Epic Olive trees". Oliveoiltimes.com. 2012-06-10. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  18. ^ "Bechealeh’s ancient trees still producing high-end olive oil". Daily Star Lebanon. 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  19. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, s.v. [1]
  20. ^ "Trees in ancient Iran". Earthwatchers. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  21. ^ Pavuk, Amy. "'The Senator' Catches Fire". Orlando Sentinel. Times Newspaper. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  22. ^ Scheper, J. "Florida's Big Tree". Floridata.com. Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  23. ^ "Alishan Forest Recreation area has new "tree king"". Taipei Times. 2006-07-02. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  24. ^ "A Luras il patriarca degli olivastri millenari d'Europa" (in Italian). COMUNE DI LURAS. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. 
  25. ^ "UTAD classificou oliveira com 2.850 anos!" (in Portuguese). CienciaPT. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  26. ^ Hobson, Jake (2007). Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way. Timber Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-88192-835-8. Retrieved 25 August 2008. 
  27. ^ Flora and Fauna Fact Sheet (Web Japan)
  28. ^ Miyazaki, Makoto. "The old men of the mountains". The Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  29. ^ Bevan-Jones, Robert (2004). The ancient yew: a history of Taxus baccata. Bollington: Windgather Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-9545575-3-0. 
  30. ^ "The Olive Tree and Olive Oil". Sfakia-crete.com. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  31. ^ "The oldest olive tree in Europe". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  32. ^ "the-oldest-olive-tree pictures, videos and albums". Webshots.com. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  33. ^ "О Кавказе". Wwf.ru. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  34. ^ "Kong Frederik den Syvendes Stiftelse Paa Jægerspris". Kongfrederik.dk. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  35. ^ ""Methuselah" Redwood - Woodside, California". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  36. ^ "Jardine Juniper Trail". Utahmountainbiking.com. 2001-08-31. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  37. ^ Gymnosperm Database (2 January 2007). "How Old Is That Tree?". Retrieved 25 July 2006. 
  38. ^ Quaking Aspen by the Bryce Canyon National Park Service
  39. ^ Genetic Variation and the Natural History of Quaking Aspen, Mitton, J. B. & Grant, M. C. (1996). BioScience 46 (1): 25-31.
  40. ^ Connor, Steve (Science Editor), "At 13,000 years, tree is world's oldest organism", The Independent (newspaper), United Kingdom, December 23, 2009, online article December 22, 2009.
  41. ^ a b May, Michael R.; Provance, Mitchell C.; Sanders, Andrew C.; Ellstrand, Norman C.; and Ross-Ibarra, Jeffrey, "A Pleistocene Clone of Palmer's Oak Persisting in Southern California", PLoS ONE, Vol. 4, Issue 12, December, 2009.
  42. ^ "Swedes find 'world's oldest tree'". BBC News. 17 April 2008. 
  43. ^ Owen, James (14 April 2008). "Oldest Living Tree Found in Sweden". National Geographic. 
  44. ^ "World's oldest living tree discovered in Sweden". Swedish Research Council. 16 April 2008. 
  45. ^ Roger Highfield (17 April 2008). "World's oldest tree discovered in Sweden". London: The Daily Telegraph. 
  46. ^ Swedish dn.se
  47. ^ "The Oldest Living Tasmanian: The Huon Pine". Australian Boradcasting Company. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  48. ^ "Oldest Living Tree Found in Sweden". National Geographic News. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2013-01-11.