How Old Is the World’s Oldest Tree?
Definitions of what constitutes an individual oldest known tree vary. In addition, tree ages are derived from a variety of sources, including documented “tree-ring” count core samples, and from estimates. For these reasons, this article presents two of the known “oldest trees”, each using varying criteria.
Old tjikko, the world’s oldest known living tree sprouted sometime during the last Ice Age, roughly 9,550 years ago. This 16-foot spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden has shown to be a tenacious survivor that has endured by growing between erect trees and smaller bushes in pace with the dramatic climate changes over time.
And about the time the Great Pyramids of Egypt were being built, a tree began to grow on a mountain in what is now California. That tree is still alive. It is “Methuselah,” a 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine growing in the Inyo National Forest. It is the oldest living tree known to exist anywhere in the world.
There was another bristlecone by the name of Prometheus even older than Methuselah. It was cut down in 1964 for scientific study, and was found to be 4,900 years old. Scientists believe these ancient trees can live 5,000 years. So Methuselah may be around for a long time yet.