Growth Rings

The oldest trees in the world

Posted on March 25, 2010 at 9:11 am

Older than the Pyramids, as old as Stonehenge, and ‘around the time the Polynesians settled Fiji’—these are the types of expressions used to describe the age of the world’s oldest trees.

This collection of photos and descriptions, published last week by Wired, displays some of the most ancient trees on the planet.

Scroll to the bottom to see an almost 10,000-year-old tree in Sweden that’s about the same size as Friends of Trees plants via its Neighborhood Trees program!


Methuselah, California, 4,765 years old. (


The world’s oldest individual tree lives 10,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo National Forest, Calif. A staggering 4,765 years old, this primeval tree was already a century old when the first pyramid was built in Egypt. The tree is hidden among other millennia-old Great Basin bristlecone pines in a grove called the Forest of Ancients. To protect the tree from vandalism, the forest service keeps its exact location secret, but this one looks like it could be Methuselah.


Jomon Sugi, Japan, 2,000-7,000 years old. (


This cryptomeria tree’s 83-foot height and 53-foot girth makes it the largest conifer in Japan. The tree grows in a misty, old-growth forest on the north face of the tallest mountain on Yakushima island in Japan. Tree rings indicate the venerable cryptomeria is at least 2,000 years old, though some estimate it could be as old as 7,000 years.


Zorastrian Sarv, Iran, 4,000-4,500 years old. (


This giant cypress lives in Abarkooh, Iran. The evergreen took root between 4,000 and 4,500 years ago, around the time that Stonehenge was being completed. It may be the oldest living thing in Asia, and is a national monument in Iran. The Zorastrian Sarv stands about 82 feet high and has a girth of 37.8 feet.


The Senator, Florida, 3,500 years old. (

This giant bald cypress lives in the semi-tropical Big Tree Park, Florida, among palm trees. The Senator is the biggest tree by volume east of the Mississippi River. The 125-foot-tall behemoth is about 3,500 years old. The cypress germinated around the same time as the Polynesians first settled Fiji.


Old Tjikko, Sweden, 9,550 years old. (


This ancient, 16-foot tall Norway spruce lives in the scrubby Fulufjället Mountains in Sweden. At 9,550 years, Old Tjikko is the oldest single-stemmed clonal tree, and took root not long after the glaciers receded from Scandinavia after the last ice age. To figure out the hardy spruce’s age, scientists carbon-dated its roots. For thousands of years, the forbidding tundra-climate kept Old Tjikko in shrub form. But as weather warmed over the last century, the shrub has grown into a full-fledged tree. The spruce’s discoverer, geologist Leif Kullman, named the tree after his dead dog.

For more photos and descriptions and to view the entire slideshow, visit

–Toshio Suzuki

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9 Responses to “The oldest trees in the world”

  1. […] photo of a bristlecone and a few other old trees is at the blog for […]

  2. […] The oldest tree in the world has been around since before the first pyramids were built. Don’t feel so old yourself now, do ya? You’re welcome. But back to that Bon Jovi t-shirt… […]

  3. Not

  4. wow!

  5. ..the trees don’t look their age….i’d swear they were still i45 years of age

  6. Old Tjikko is the big surprise in the list! So thin, small and fragile. Who would have thought…

  7. Old Tjikko is the big surprise in the list! So thin, small and fragile. Who would have thought… It also was the only one that was carbon 14 dated instead of taking a core and counting the rings.

    Its important to know that carbon 14 in very inaccurate compared to tree ring data.

    If someone told me the world was flat(back when some people thought this) I would have thought it was round. Why? Because when i see the sky shifting daily and horizons bending across the sea i know its round (Just like the bible said thousands and thousands of years ago).

  8. […] the World | Mental Floss The Oldest Trees on the Planet – Wired Science Oldest tree ever documented The oldest trees in the world | Growth Rings Keepers of Prometheus: The World Bristlecone Pines – The Oldest Trees on Earth | Amusing […]

  9. Is anybody talking about the new theory of gigantic trees there are remnants such as the Devils Tower

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