The Blog
The 10 Oldest Trees in the World

Indiana has about 2,000 acres of old growth forests, which pales in comparison to the over 20 MILLION acres it had before civilization (good thing KIB is here to keep planting new ones, with your help!). Trees in these old growth forests can live more for than 250 years, meaning that some of them are older than our country itself!

However impressive these trees are, they are truly youngsters compared to the oldest trees in the world. Below is a list of the 10 oldest trees in the world (and some other fun tidbits):

10. General Sherman – Sequoia National Park, USA (2,300-2,700 years old)

general sherman                       

In addition to being one of the oldest trees in the world, it also holds the record as being the largest tree in the world in terms of sheer volume (1,487 cubic meters).

9. Old Chestnut – Sicily, Italy (2,000-4,000 years old)

old chestnut      

On the slopes of Mt Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, sits the world’s oldest Chestnut tree, and the 9th oldest tree known to science.

8. Alyshun – Taiwan (3,000 years old)

Alyshum

This conifer, the “Alishan Sacred Tree” was of special importance to Buddhists in the area, but was unfortunately felled by heavy rainstorms in 1997.

7. Patriarch – Brazil (3,000 years old)

Patriarch

Widely thought to be the oldest deciduous tree in South America.

6. The Senator – Florida, USA (3,400-3,500 years old)

senator

The largest tree east of the Mississippi River, this Bald Cypress was also the largest of its kind in the U.S. until it was accidentally destroyed by a fire. However, saplings have been spotted at the base of the tree, indicating that the root system may still be alive.

5. Alerce – Chile (3,600 years old)

Alerce

An ancient species of tree, the Patagonian Cypress has been around for 35 million years. Alerce is a spritely 3,600 years by comparison, still making it the fifth oldest tree in the world.

4. Llangernyw Yew – Wales (4,000-5,000 years old)

llangernyw yew

Located in a Welsh cemetery and surrounded by legend, this ancient yew has been fragmented and much wood was lost. The current offshoots are around 1,500 years old, but the original growth is much older.

3. Sarv-e-Abarkooh – Abarkooh, Iran (4,000 years old)

Sarv-e-Abarkooh

This cypress is a major tourist attraction and believed to be the oldest living thing in Asia.

2. Methuselah – Nevada, USA (4,800 years old)

methuselah

A bristlecone pine, it was previously thought to be the oldest tree in the world, after Methuselah’s neighbor Prometheus was controversially cut down by a researcher. But, in 2004, a new (er… old) contender ascended…

1. “Christmas Tree” – Sweden (9,550 years old)

christmas tree

This tree throws a wrench into everything. The Norway Spruce – yes, the one we usually associate with Christmas trees—has a 13 foot offshoot that isn’t very old at all, but its root system is almost TEN THOUSAND YEARS OLD. It’s been around since just after the Ice Age, so the chances of finding one older than that are slim.

While trees are traditionally aged by counting the rings from core samples, modern technology allowed for ancient roots to be radiocarbon dated. The same team that identified this tree also found others in the same area that were dated to be between 5,000-6,000 years old. So… in the future this list may all be Swedish trees.

Confused? Well, wait for this one…

The world’s oldest living organism: The Pando – Utah, USA (80,000-1,000,000 years old)

pando

Imagine: a single root system supplying thousands of tree “stems” over 105 acres, and weighing 6,615 tons (also making it the world’s heaviest living organism). While stems “only” live to be about 200 years old, the root system may be 1 MILLION YEARS OLD, by some scientists reckoning. Oh, and all the tree stems are genetically identical clones.

ISN’T NATURE FUN?!