Trees are living historical records whose contribution cannot be understated. If you dig into their roots there are a number of things you will find out about them. For instance, how long that specific tree has been living. While most trees live long lives, there are some trees whose lifespan seems nearly impossible. The world’s longest living trees have experienced harsh weather patterns that have driven living beings to extinction and have witnessed the evolution of humans and other animals. What are the world's longest living trees and what makes this possible?
The White Mountains of California was home to a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine that was 4,845 years old in 2013 and at that time was the longest living tree on historical record. The Rocky Mountain Tree Ring research group discovered another tree living in The White Mountains that was 5,062 years old. Methuselah, however, is still believed to be the longest living tree without a Clonal Colony. Europe’s oldest tree is a Bosnian Pine that took root in 941 AD, at the time Vikings were still invading. A Yew Tree believed to be between the ages of 2,000 and 4,000 years was found in Perthshire, Scotland. The Longview Yew in Wales is believed to have taken root in the Bronze Age. A Clonal Colony that is 40,000 years old was found in Aspen while an 80,000-year-old Colony was found in Utah.
It is hard to believe that any living being, plant or person could live through so much disaster and change. As you delve into the remarkable history of trees you will find that they are as strong as they seem. Bristlecone Pines (Pinus Longaeva), Yew trees, and Ginkgo Biloba trees appear to be the longest lived on record. They are commonly found in climates that are subject to change drastically. Bristlecones are resilient in bad weather and bad soil. The environment in the high elevations of The White Mountains in California creates the perfect living conditions for the Bristlecone trees.
The Bristlecone Tree lives where most other plants can’t. They are the only living organisms in the area and competition for food and water is scarce. They can spread their roots in search of nutrients. The Bristlecones rings show us that they have the ability to endure intense stress. In the basin, the trees grow slowly due to the freezing temperatures, dry soil, and high winds. Their tough exterior makes them resistant to the invasion of insects and other pests. As the trees age, a vast amount of the bark of the tree may die but there is left a small bit of tissue that keeps the tree from dying entirely.
Trees first took root 385 million years ago during the Devonian Period. The longest living trees were here when Pyramids were new, the ice age was happening and they were there to bear witness to the beginning of mankind as we know it today. It’s hard to imagine that any living organism could possibly withstand what a tree can but thanks to their own resilience and solitary life, Bristlecone Pines, Yew, and Ginkgo Biloba trees stand together as the longest living trees on the planet.