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2012-01-12

How long do trees live?

Feather Wilson

Some live a very long time, even thousands of years. The oldest tree in North America is estimated to have lived 4,765 years. It lives at 10,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo National Forest in California. This primeval bristlecone pine tree was 100-years-old when the first pyramid was built in Egypt.

This tree looks its age and it is known as "Methuselah."

There is another 4,500 year old cypress tree in Iran and it sits in a cemetery. It is an evergreen cypress.

The third oldest tree is found in Wales and sprouted during the Bronze Age. It is between 3,000 and 4,000 years old.

A giant bald cypress tree is found in Florida and it is about 3,500 years old.

The oldest tree in Texas resides in Aransas County near the Gulf of Mexico. This live oak is estimated to be about 2,000 years old. It is known as the "Big Tree" to the residents of Rockport, Texas.

Many old live oaks have survived hundreds of years across the Texas Hill Country. A few may be as old as 1,000 years found within the deep valleys near streams.

A colony of quaking aspens covers 105 acres in Utah and this colony is believed to be about 800,000 years old. This is long before our human ancestors began their trek out of East African Rift System.

These colonies of trees continue to grow from a meandering root system covering many acres of land
Trees survive thousands of years due to their compartmentalized vascular system. This allows a portion of the tree to die while other portions continue to live and thrive. Their genetic mutations are not as active as other plants.

Recall that trees are among our closest living cousins on the phylogenetic tree of life.

They deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.