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Oldies but goodies

February 15, 2017

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I tweeted about the world's oldest tree, but feel I need to add a few comments about the subject.

The record for a single example is currently held by a  bristlecone pine which is more than 5,000 years old.

This example is located in the White Mountains of California but the exact identity of the specimen is being kept secret.

It is believed that the longevity of the trees is related to the proportion of dead wood to live wood. This high ratio reduces respiration and water loss, thereby extending the life of the tree.

What are older are trees that reproduce by cloning. A colony of 47,000 quaking aspen trees, pictured above, have a nickname Pando which is the latin for I Spread.

They cover 106 acres in the Fishlake National Forest of the United States. The root system is said to be 80,000 years old, although tree ring samples date individual, above-ground, trees at only an average of about 130 years.

The difference is that Pando has one large root system which produces several trees which grow and die. And I do mean BIG root system. Pando is the heaviest living thing at about 6,000,000 kilograms.

However, Pando is thought to be dying. Though the exact reasons are not known, it is thought to be some combination of drought, insects and disease.

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