Some of these trees date back millennia. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 On^ste82
Scientists have discovered one of the oldest trees on Earth in North Carolina's Black River swampland.
The incredibly old bald cypress tree was found by researchers who had been studying tree rings in the region as part of an effort to learn more about the climate history of the eastern United States.
The tree (Taxodium distichum
) turned out to be one of the oldest non-clonal specimens in the world (meaning that it is a single tree as oppose to a colony of genetically identical plants).
A second bald cypress tree dating back 2,088 years was also found at the same swamp, suggesting that there could in fact be several other 2,000-year-old specimens in the region.
"Because we have cored and dated only 110 living bald cypress at this site, a small fraction of the tens of thousands of trees still present in these wetlands, there could be several additional individual bald cypress over 2,000-years old along the approximately 100 km (62 mile) reach of Black River," the researchers wrote.
The discovery makes the bald cypress the oldest wetland species and the fifth-oldest overall non-clonal tree species on the planet, with the oldest being the Great Basin bristlecone pine.
Found in the White Mountains of California, the oldest known specimen is around 5,000 years old.
Source: Live Science | Comments (5)
North Carolina, Tree