Top 10 Oldest Trees In The World
Standing tall through millennia, the oldest trees in the world are a fantastic sight to behold. Through their age, they tell a story that predates some of our favorite historical eras, having lived for thousands of years.
Though they may have suffered damage from weather, man, or other natural causes, they are still amazing to see. Reading about them and seeing pictures pales compared to the grandeur and size of the real things.
How To Tell The Age Of A Tree
An easy way to tell the age of a tree is by counting its annual rings. You’ll notice these rings on cut trees as the bark grows a new layer each year. Each layer is noticeable, separated by a small but noticeable line. The rings vary in size, being larger the older the tree.
Another way to tell the age of a tree is to estimate it using rope. Wrap a piece of rope around the trunk, then measure it. The rule of thumb states that every 2.5cm or inch equals a year of growth. However, this measurement varies by tree species and growing conditions.
The Top 10 Oldest Trees In The World
The ten oldest trees in the world vary in age, with all of them being over a thousand years old. We’ll give a brief history of each tree and its approximate age.
Approximately 4,850 years old, the Methuselah is a well-known ancient tree found in the White Mountains of California. The Methuselah isn’t the only tree of such age within the Inyo National Forest, having an older Pine tree of nearly 5,000 years as well. Unfortunately, the exact tree and its locations are kept secret to protect the tree from any unwanted harm.
#2: Grand Abuelo
The Alerce is often used as the common name for the Fitzroya cupressoides. The species is exceptionally tall, with the oldest living one at over 3,600 years old. The oldest tree of this forest is known as Grand Abuelo.
#3: Sarv-e Abarqu
Known also as the Zoroastrian Sarv, this tree stands at a ripe old age of an estimated 4,000 years or more. The tree resides in the Yazd province of Iran and is considered an Iranian national monument, as the tree predates the beginning of the AD era. The tree’s speculated age can reach 5,00 years; however, it’s hard to determine as it’s been cultivated for many years.
#4: Patriarca da Floresta
Belonging to the Cariniana legalis species, the Patriarca da Floresta is estimated to have an age of over 2,000 years. While the tree is considered sacred, its species is threatened by extensive logging in Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela.
#5: Llangernyw Yew
The Llangernyw Yew is a 4,000-year-old tree from North Whales in the United Kingdom. The tree is currently located in the churchyard of St. Dygain’s Church within the Llangernyw village. The tree has a prevalent place in Welsh mythology, having links to the Recording Angel, Angelystor.
#6: Olive Tree of Vouves
An ancient olive tree from Greece, the Olive Tree of Vouves is one of seven in the Mediterranean. These seven trees are estimated to range in age from 2,000 to 3,000, with this one being the eldest. The olive tree still produces olives, a trait due to its disease and fire-resistant nature.
#7: Jōmon Sugi
The Japanese tree, Jōmon Sugi, is located in Yakushima. It is one of the oldest cryptomeria trees on the island, with an age of at least 2,000 years. The tree is partially responsible for the island now being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
#8: The Senator
Unfortunately, the senator suffered significant damage during a fire in 2012; it was a tree aged around 3,500 years. The tree used to be located in Florida and was known as the largest bald cypress in the United States. The tree endured many hurricanes and other hardships throughout its life.
#9: Great Basin Bristlecone Pine
Having an age of over 5,000 years, the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine was named the oldest tree in the world in 2012. However, as the current core sample from the tree has gone missing, researchers are unable to confirm the tree’s age after the previous researcher’s death. As such, its title was revoked in 2012.
#10: Old Tjikko
Discovered in 2008, this Swedish tree isn’t a regular individual tree. Old Tjikko is a clone, regenerating new trunks and branches in the same spot. The tree has an estimated age of around 10,000 years; however, this age is mainly attributed to its root system. The trunks regenerated by Old Tjikko only live approximately 600 years before a new one regenerates.
While not all trees will reach a staggering age, such as the ones mentioned, there are many trees that are hundreds of years old already. It is possible that a tree planted today will reach centuries in age, especially if it’s cared for and cultivated. Even a bonsai can achieve old age if properly cared for and well-maintained.