What Are the Longest Living Trees?

There are several types of trees that are long-lived, but the bristlecone pine is among the longest living trees on the planet. Capable of adapting to a wide range of climates, the tree can thrive for thousands of years. One of the oldest known bristlecone pine trees, the Methuselah Tree, is located in the White Mountains of Inyo County, California, in the United States and is believed to be about 4,900 years old.

More facts about bristlecone pine trees:

  • Needles on the bristlecone pine tree can live for as long as 30 years, allowing the tree to develop thick foliage. The life span of the needles help enhance the tree's ability to endure severe stress over an extended period of time.

  • Part of the tree’s natural defenses involves the ability to reduce bark and other tissue after some sort of damage. Doing so makes it possible to divert nutrients to parts of the tree that are still healthy. This allows the tree to survive events such as fire, lightning and even an extended period of drought.

  • After a bristlecone pine tree dies, it can remain standing for hundreds of years. The slow deterioration of the root system makes it possible for the tree to remain stable in the interim. Until the roots finally decay or the tree is downed because of soil erosion, it will remain upright.

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