The 10 oldest trees on Earth

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Every simple thing what we are surrounded by have its own story, which can be short but also long. The most peaceful creatures of the Earth are the trees, and many cultures connected with them in many ways of mythology. The green trees are not just giving oxygen to us, but many of them survived the ages of human history. Here is a list ten of the oldest and most ancient trees on Earth.

10. Kongeegen

The Kongeegen is a famous and old oak tree in Denmark, its name means the King Oak. The tree grows in Jagerspris Nordskov, on the island of Sjalland. In 1965 a group of scientists estimated the great oak tree to be between 1,450-1,900 years of age. The tree is thought to be the oldest in the whole region of northern Europe.

Kongeegen

The Kongeegen (King Oak) in the Jagerspris Nordskov forest in Denmark. (Source: By Mikkel Houmoller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/; Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56094792)

The researchers suggest that the place where the tree stands was a meadow and it has caused the low branching and short trunk, in this way the Kongeegen is surrounded by taller trees that are shading it nowadays. Unfortunately the King Oak is showing signs of dying as the trunk slowly rots away.

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9. Hundred Horse Chestnut

This majestic old chestnut tree grows on the island of Sicily, located on the slopes of Mount Etna near by the city of Saint Alfio. It set a world record with its 57 meter long perimeter. The magnificent tree is more than 2,000 years old, and during this long time it suffered storm damage over the centuries.

Hundred Horse Chestnut

Source: By LuckyLisp, CC BY-SA 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/; Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1484298

The appearance of the tree is also unique because its trunk is split into multiple trunks, but below the ground it has one common root system. The name of the "Hundred Horse Chestnut" comes from an old legend that the Queen of Aragon and her army of 100 knights with horses were all able to take shelter from a violent thunderstorm in the embrace of the tree beneath its foliage.

8. Jōmon Sugi

The Jomonsugi Cedar tree is approximately 25 meter tall, 16 meter in circumference and it is the oldest Yakusugi Cedar tree on the globe. The tree is more than 2,500 years old based on its growth-rings, but researchers say that the Jōmon Sugi can be around 7,000 years old.

Jomon Sugi

Jōmon Sugi stands 25.3 m (83 ft) tall and has a volume of approximately 10,000 cu ft (300 m3). (Source: By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/; Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4088699)

According to the narrative of the local people those who look at the unevenness of the tree trunk will be able to feel and understand what it is like living in the extreme conditions of Yakushima's nature. In the past few years an observation deck has been fabricated around the tree trunk to protect its root system from the tramping of the thousands of hikers who make a trip to the Jōmon Sugi.

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7. Jardine Juniper

The tree was discovered in 1923 by Maurice Blood Linford within Logan Canyon in the Cache National Forest while he was a student.

Jardine Juniper

Source: CC BY 2.5, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/; Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7309422

The tree, which is circa 12 meter tall, was estimated to be around 3,000 years old at the beginning, butresearches show that it is "only" over 1,500 years old. The Jardine Juniper is a liked hiking station in the area.

6. Sarv-e Abarkuh

The Sarv-e Abarkuh is thought to be one of the oldest trees in the world, and the oldest living creature in the continent of Asia as it is estimated to be between 4,000 - 5,000 years old. Some legend says that the Sarv-e Abarkuh was planted by an Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, or Japheth, who was the third son of the Noah from the Bible.

Sarv-e Abarkuh

Sarv-e Abarqu, 4,000-Year-Old Cedar Tree, Abarqu, Iran. (Source: flickr.com / Julia Maudlin, License: CC BY 2.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/; Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/juliamaudlin/14817215227)

The respected tree is protected by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, and it is titled like a national natural monument of the country.

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5. Llangernyw Yew

This tree is the oldest tree of Wales with its estimated age of 4,000-5,000 years and the British Tree Council titled the Llangernyw Yew one of the Fifty Great British Trees in 2002, during the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Llangernyw Yew

Source: wikipedia.org / Emgaol, License: CC BY-SA 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en; Link: https://kw.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restren:The_Llangernyw_yew.jpg

The Llangernyw Yew grows in the churchyard of St. Digain's Church in the Llangernyw village. The tree has a special place in the Welsh mythology, because as the legend says the spirit of the Recording Angel comes every Halloween to sign which of the parishioners will die the next year.

4. Gran Abuelo

The Gran Abuelo is the oldest living tree on the whole South American continent and it is located in the Alerce Costero National Park in Chile. The tree is more than 60 m tall with a perimeter of 11 m. The age of Gran Abuelo was determined in 1993 after researchers used a growth-ring to find out its antiquity.

Gran Abuelo

Source: By Cristian Barahona Miranda - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en; Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21778602

The research showed that the tree was around 3,622 years old at the time. Patagonian Cypresses, like Gran Abuelo, are containing special resins, which help the trees decompose slowly. This is why these species of trees are endangered and why many of them have been cut down and turned into building material.

3. The Old Tjikko

In the time Old Tjikko was discovered in the Fulufjället mountain, in Sweden, in the year of 2008, it was declared the world's oldest tree. The Old Tjikko is estimated to be about 10,000 years old by counting its growth-rings.

The Old Tjikko

Old Tjikko is a tree in Fulufjäll in Sweden which is claimed to be the oldest tree in the world, by age of its root system. The visible part is much younger. It is a Norway spruce. (Source: By Karl Brodowsky - Own work, CC BY 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en; Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17496567)

Like many other older trees, Old Tjikko is also a clone, which regenerates new trunks, branches, and roots in the same spot. So more precisely the root system of the tree is circa 10,000 years old, while its trunks often survive for only about 600 years before a younger clone tree replaces it.

2. Methuselah tree

This amazing ancient tree has named for the oldest Biblical figure, who died in the really ripe old age of 969 years, Methuselah. The tree was discovered in the year of 1957 by Tom Harlan and Edmund Schulman, and its age was 4789 years at that time.

Methuselah tree

Methuselah, White Mountain, California - Methuselah Tree, Bristlecone pine (Source: flickr.com / Chao Yen; License: CC BY-ND 2.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/; Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yenchao/9187256378)

This old tree is located in the Methuselah Grove in the White Mountains of Inyo County, California, USA. At its spot the old tree is surrounded by other antique trees, and the precise location of the Methuselah tree is directly unknown to the public to keep the tree safe from human vandalism. For a fact, this tree is older than the Egyptian pyramids.

1. Pando

Pando is the oldest tree in the world with its estimated age of over 80,000 years, and also may the oldest living organism on the Earth. The ancient quaking aspen tree is located in Utah State, in the USA. Most of the old trees are individuals, but Pando is a clone in a big colony that shares one great underground root system, similar to the Old Tjikko of Sweden.

Pando

Source: wikipedia.org / Scott Catron, License: CC BY-SA 3.0, License link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/; Link: https://hu.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A1jl:QuakiesSEP2005.JPG

This amazing system of roots is the secret of the tree for surviving, so during the long age of its life, due to its underground life-elements, Pando survived many wildfires, heavy storms and the human activity of the last centuries.

Donát Novák

March 2020