Big and old trees

Trees have the distinction as being the largest living organism and one of the longest lived as well. Some of the oldest trees are not the tallest and visa versa. The bristlecone pine tree found in the Western United States has a number of individuals in the oldest tree category.

The english elm tree at Frederick High School is one of the largest in nation and is the largest in Frederick County. The oldest known tree is a 5,064 year old bristlecone pine tree found in the White Mountains of California. The second oldest tree is also a bristlecone pine tree that is 4,845 years of age. A Mediterranean cypress in Iran has the distinction of being the third oldest, estimated to be 4,000 years old, although this tree is not reliably dated. A yew tree in North Wales is estimated to be 4,000 years old as well.

A Patagonian cypress growing in Chile was found to be 3,642 years old. A giant sequoia growing in California is thought to be 3,014 years old. A fig tree known as the “sacred fig” is believed to be 2,302 years of age. This tree was grown from the seed of the fig tree that Buddha sat under to become enlightened. The sacred fig is thought to be the oldest known tree that was planted.

Not all old trees are found in California or some other exotic location. A bald cypress growing in Florida has been found to be 1,648 years of age. A northern white cedar (arbor vitae) growing in Ontario, Canada, is 1,646 years old, and there are a couple white oaks scattered around that are believed to be 500 years old.

The oldest known living organisms are clonal colonies of tree, plants, and fungi. The oldest known living organism is a large colony of quaking aspen in Utah known as the Pando colony. The age of this colony is believed to be 80,000 years old.

Trees are by far and away the largest living creatures. The tallest living tree in existence is a Coast redwood which is 377.3 feet in height. Other large trees include: Eucalyptus: 327.4 feet, Douglas Fir 327.3 feet, Philippine Fir 317.91 feet, Klinki Pine (Papua, New Guinea) 291.66 feet, Giant Sequoia 282.80 feet, Sitka Spruce 276.25 and Sugar Pine 230.97 feet.

The Eastern white pine is thought to be the tallest tree growing in the East; historical records of old growth pine that were present during colonial times list trees that were 250 feet tall. The tallest living white pine tree is 190 feet tall; it is in the Great Smokey Mountains. Other tall trees growing in the East include a hemlock, 145.4 feet; a white oak, 144 feet; a tulip poplar, 139.99 feet; a black cherry, 137.3 feet; and a beech, 127.7 feet.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Notes for 3/22/2015